Next week we will begin roasting two new experimental heirloom Ethiopia Gesha coffees from Ninety Plus Gesha Estates. The first is a washed Gesha called Lycello and the second is a naturally processed Gesha called Perci Red. One of the amazing and exciting things about these two coffees is that they are, in a sense, the same coffee. Both come from the same estate and are produced by the same people, only Perci Red was naturally dried on African drying beds while Lycello was washed at the nearby Hartman Estate. These coffees hail from Panama, about 15 minutes from the town of Volcán in the area known as Silla Del Pando. Ninety Plus Coffee owns the estate and has gone to a lot of trouble to make it a zeitgeist of coffee growing, cultivation, and community. Not only are 35 of the total 134 hectares protected National Rainforest but 25 members of the local Ngöbe tribe have been retained to assist on the farm, thus demonstrating Ninety Plus’s focus on authenticity and community. An intricate network of trails connects the micro farms scattered throughout the estate. Each micro farm labors to understand and perfectly cultivate the heirloom Ethiopian Gesha coffee variety by drawing on past experiences in Ethiopia and Panama and by leaving many stones unturned on the farm.
Why the coffee/beer parallel?
Besides our love and passion for the best coffees (and beers) out there, we partnered with Ninety Plus to roast and offer these coffees in an effort to further the case that all coffee does NOT taste alike. If you think that all coffees taste the same but beers don’t, for example, you might look to get your hands on some Perci Red and Lycello.
Perci Red has room-filling aromatics of strawberries, currants and sugar cane. Its flavor profile is an explosion of strawberry rhubarb pie, tangy strawberries and currants with a syrupy mouth feel and a nice chocolate undertone as the cup cools. As we took our first sips of Perci a member of our team quickly noted that it is remarkably similar to Russian River Brewing’s Consecration, a dark sour ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with black currants added to the barrel. The beer is remarkable with sweet and sour currant and raspberry notes, a touch of wine and a full, sweet body. If you have not had it, get it. Sadly it is really only available on the West Coast. It should be clear where the flavors are similar and it is not that Perci is sour in the strict sense but it has a structured tang, almost effervescence, which makes it so much like Consecration.
Lycello is a structured ballet of lemon pixie stick, jasmine and soft floral aromatics. In the cup, it maintains its structured ontos with notes of stone fruit, pine & resin, dried lemon, and Chinese black tea. Lycello has an uncanny similarity to well-balanced, almost too hoppy pale ales. Not quite as big or aggressive as Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA but a little more than Dale’s Pale Ale. These beers are subtle and structured with all of the best flavors of American ales: resin & pine, citrus, a touch of stone fruit and nice sweetness.
If you get a chance to try these coffees and you feel like we do, let us know which craft beers, if any, you think they smack of. We're looking forward to hearing about other coffee and beer parallels.