Bolivia El Fuerte Washed Geisha 2020


Bean name Bolivia El Fuerte Washed Geisha 2020
Country Bolivia
Region Santa Cruz
Other info Varietal: Geisha


*Please note that this coffee is sold in 125g bags, not in our regular 250g*

This farm was named in honour of the 'Fort of Samaipata', which is a unique ruin in Bolivia El Fuerte de Samaipata (Fort Samaipata), also known simply as 'El Fuerte', is a pre-Columbian archaeological site. It's unique in that it represents the legacies of Inca, Spanish and Chanè cultures, and it's one of Samaipata's main attractions. Situated in the eastern foothills of the Bolivian Andes, in the Santa Cruz department of Florida province, the archaeological site is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

El Fuerte de Samaipata is not actually a military fortification, but it is generally considered a pre-Columbian religious site. It was built by the Chané people, who were a pre-Inca culture of Arawak origin. There are also ruins of an Inca city built near the temple; the city was built during the Inca expansion to the southeast. Both Incas and Chanés suffered several raids from Guarani warriors, who invaded the region from time to time. Eventually, the Guarani warriors conquered the plains and valleys of Santa Cruz, and destroyed Samaipata. The Guaranis dominated the region well into the Spanish colonial period.

The Spaniards also built a settlement near the temple, and there are remains of buildings of typical Andalusi Arabic architecture. The Spaniards abandoned the settlement and moved to the nearby valley, where the town of Samaipata is currently located. The archaeological site at El Fuerte is unique, and it encompasses buildings of three different cultures: Chanés, Incas and Spaniards.

El Fuerte was a first experiment in developing coffee in a region that has excellent characteristics for producing amazing quality coffee (good soil conditions and high altitude), but which traditionally sees little coffee production and produces no specialty coffee. After consulting with a specialised agronomist, Agricafe (which runs the farm) chose the region of Agua Rica as the ideal location. It's at the edge of the Amboró National Park (some 20 KM east of Samaipata).

Several different varietals were tried initially. Those varietals included Red Bourbon, and Yellow and Red Caturra – although nowadays Agricafe has ventured into growing other varietals. Caturra and Typica (both are traditionally grown in Bolivia) are commonly seen, but alongside other slightly rarer varietals like Java and Geisha. Although there is little need for shade trees because the altitude keeps the temperature down, other trees were planted to protect the coffee trees from the strong winds that are common in the region.

Geisha is a varietal that has attracted lots of attention among coffee buyers and farmers, with some super high prices being paid for tiny lots. The name comes from the Gesha village in Ethiopia, where it’s said to have come from. I say 'said to' because it’s believed that coffee stock from this region made its way to Costa Rica (and then on to Panama) in the 1950s, but didn’t find much favour in its new home.

As with other experimental varietals that didn’t do particularly well, the plants were largely ignored or forgotten. Some grew wild or mixed into difficult-to-reach corners of farms. That means it’s difficult to be sure how close what we now call 'Geisha' is to those seeds from Ethiopia many years ago. Regardless, Geisha’s reputation suddenly hit the big time around 2004 as it attracted praise (and high prices) in the Taste of Panama competition, and it became a must-try for coffee geeks.

It’s a spindly plant that needs quite a lot of space and care, but the distinctive floral flavours it delivers have seen it being planted more and more throughout Panama and Costa Rica. It's also slowly appearing in other countries where producers are looking to experiment with new varietals.

The decision to plant coffee at El Fuerte was something of a risk, but it's one that has undoubtedly paid off. The location has proved to be strategic and the weather is ideal; so much so that a second wet mill will soon be established at the site. Once it is, all coffee produced in the Samaipata farms will be processed at El Fuerte.

There's a big hit of almost malty black tea at the start - but with a spoonful of white sugar stirred in. Behind it is a rush of perfumed florals before it finishes with a shoulder of orange.

Country: Bolivia
Province: Florida
Department: Santa Cruz
Farm: El Fuerte
Producers: Fincas Rodriguez
Altitude: 1,550–1,700 m.a.s.l.
Variety: Geisha
Process: Washed

Floral, black tea, white sugar, orange

Clean cup (1–8): 8
Sweetness (1–8): 6.5
Acidity (1–8): 6
Mouthfeel (1–8): 6
Flavour (1–8): 7
Aftertaste (1–8): 6
Balance (1–8): 6.5
Overall (1–8): 7
Correction (+36): +36

Total: (max. 100): 89

Roast Information
A nice Medium, no more - take it through first and let it develop a little, but it needs to be dropped before it gets to the end of the gap.

Cupping notes

Clean cup None/8
Sweetness None/8
Acidity None/8
Mouthfeel None/8
Flavour None/8
Aftertaste None/8
Balance None/8
Overall None/8
Correction +None
Total 89

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