Anyone who truly loves coffee can easily discern the difference between the premium high-quality brews and the plethora of lesser brews often stocked along the shelves of your local grocer. I have often used the term ‘expert-hand’ to describe the people behind those best coffees. Until recently I never really qualified that term with any formality. Mostly because although I'm a proud coffee snob with a wealth of coffee-drinking experience under my belt, I was ignorant of what makes a coffee guru an ‘expert.’ That is until I came across a premium Colombia Gesha coffee offering from Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters based out of New York.
The company sent me a bag of their coffee in exchange for a completely honest assessment of their coffee.
I had actually already known that Bean & Bean boasted a strong reputation for producing excellent coffee. Therefore, I went into this opportunity to review their La Colombia Gesha beans with high hopes. Would they be met or would they fall short?
The Hand Behind Bean and Bean
So instead of getting right to the brewing and tasting, I made an effort to learn a little bit more about Rachel and Jiyoon Han, the mother daughter team behind Bean & Bean. I was immediately surprised to learn the ‘expert hand’ roasting Bean & Bean’s beans was Jiyoon. I was even more impressed to learn Jiyoon and Rachel have spent a lot of time visiting coffee farming cooperatives all over the world; evaluating growing operations and building relationships with their growers in order to ultimately produce the best beans possible. I can only assume they picked up the importance nuances of the growing and roasting process that can only be learned through experience.
Beyond the research and the roasting, I soon discovered the Hans held high-level certifications (Q Grader) from the Coffee Quality Institute. They had undergone very specific training and testing and therefore were the legit ‘experts’ I had often spoke of. Now that I had a way to validate one of my favorite adjectives to describe my favorite coffees, I jumped right in to tasting the Bean & Bean La Colombia Gesha.
It's worth noting that Gesha or Geisha is a type of coffee that's considered one of the rarest and most expensive in the world. I won't go over every detail of what makes Gesha coffee in general so special, but it's still worth noting that Gesha coffee is grown in only certain regions in the world. The Gesha coffee for this review was sourced from Colombia, a country renown for its rare and exotic coffees.
Related Article: The Best Gesha Coffees of 2022
Colombia Gesha Coffee Review: Taste, Aroma, and Flavor
I tasted this coffee brewed both through the pour-over process and my morning mainstay drip brewer.
I have come to understand that the location where beans are grown greatly contribute to the complexity of flavors that are then further cultivated through processing and roasting practices. I immediately noted how these Gesha beans were very light in color, really milk chocolaty in representation. I compared these Gesha beans to another favorite light roast and the roundness and strikingly light color was very obvious. These Gesha beans were grown at a very small farm sitting at over 6000′ elevation in the Antioquia Region of Colombia. The high-elevation and specific farm location adjacent to natural irrigation prospects contribute to the growing characteristics of the plants and the flavor potential of the berries. Interestingly, like Bean & Bean, this particular farm is also a woman-led operation.
I always taste a bean or two before grinding. These may be the most pleasant beans I have ever chewed if that matters to anyone. The ground coffee was a perfectly dry powder granule with no apparent oiliness. From my experience, the dry grind is a strong indicator of freshness and proper bean handling throughout the roasting process. I can go on and on about the coffee flavor, but let there be no doubt; this is an absolutely excellent coffee, seemingly in a class of its own.
I will provide a few personal tasting notes that are naturally based on my particular profile.
First, the brewing aroma was a delightful prelude to the flavors I personally detected with each sip; that is, the floral notes mixed with chocolate were apparent as I brewed in the pour-over style. Later with my drip process I inhaled significantly more chocolate. Now the Hans list such descriptors as honey and mint in their own tasting. They also designate the coffee as having a clean, crisp body. I certainly tasted the mint, but mixed more with the floral and citrus flavors (my current favorite flavoring in coffee). Many of my most beloved coffees have a “light-in-the-mouth” feel which I would definitely equate to being clean and crisp. However, it was only upon the exhale where I could detect that honey essence.
Colombia Gesha Coffee Review: Conclusion
In summary, the coffee was most enjoyable for me particularly because of its complexity. I just love the coffee experience where each part (grind, brew, sip and sip again) provides a barrage of wonderous offerings to the senses. Even more so, I love thinking about the Han’s experience: walking among the coffee plants perched in neat rows along the side of a mountain in Colombia, stroking the reddish green berries as the ripen along each stem, seeing the pride in the female farmer’s eye and then knowing the Jiyoon will soon work her magic at the roaster. It's rare that a coffee with such a lofty reputation meets my expectations. But I can say this is easily one of the best Colombian Gesha coffee available and one of the best Geisha coffee overall as well.
Not that I ever doubted, but the Hans are the epitome of experts when it comes to producing coffee. While this small-batch Gesha may be at the top of their offerings, I have no doubt everything else from Bean & Bean will be an experience you will not regret.
Thank you Jiyoon and Rachel for the experience and what you represent in the coffee industry.