Discover The Birthplace Of Geisha Coffee in Ethiopia
Join us for a once in a lifetime exploration to the far west of Ethiopia. In 2004 I tasted my first cup of Geisha during a coffee competition in Panama and this phenomenal variety turned my world upside down. I organized various expeditions to the far West of Ethiopia in search of the origins of Geisha. After many explorations in wild coffee forests, we finally stumbled upon a relatively small forest in the province of Bench Maji, not too far from the town of Gesha. We collected various samples and started to investigate the flavor profiles. In this quest for the roots of Geisha, I collaborated with my friends Adam Overton and Rachel Samuel, who planted a beautiful farm called Gesha Village Estate with the objectives to save the local forest and the magnificent indigenous Gesha coffee variety. The Gesha Village Harvest Expedition 2015 takes place at the estate while the first harvest is in full swing. During the course you will learn about the unique indigenous Ethiopian coffee cultures and you have the chance to harvest, process and taste new crop Gesha coffees!
Day 1 – Sunday – Departure by 4×4 cars from Addis Abeba to the town of Bonga.
Spend the night in the Kaffa Guesthouse, Bonga.
Day 2 – Visit the impressive forest coffee farm owned by Green Coffee Agro Industry. Observe harvesting, cherry collection and processing. Continue traveling to Gesha. Arrival at Gesha Village Estate end of afternoon.
Day 3 – Morning – Introduction by Willem Boot and by Gesha Estate owner Adam Overton. Initial walk into the farm for a first exploration of different coffee varieties. Lecture about farm management and sustainability by Dr. Girma Adugna, senior coffee researcher and assistant professor, Djimma University, College of Agriculture.
Day 3 – Afternoon – Visit the weekly farmers market in Gesha town. Meet and mingle with the Meanit people. Introductory lecture about processing styles and methods. Observe processing of freshly harvested coffee cherries. Headlamp roasting session of freshly harvested coffees.
Day 4 – Morning – Assess progress of coffee processing at coffee mill. Lecture by Dr. Girma about coffee varieties and about harvesting techniques. Students go out in groups and join coffee pickers for the harvesting of coffee cherries. Lunch with coffee workers and drink chemu (an indigenous coffee beverage made of coffee leaves and spices).
Day 4 – Afternoon – Lecture by Willem Boot about the Geisha coffee variety and about the quest for the origin of the geisha variety. Participate in the staff soccer game or volleyball game. Observe more processing of freshly harvested coffee cherries.
Day 5 – Morning – Hike to the northeastern viewpoint at the backside of the farm.
Day 5 – Afternoon – Cupping session of new harvest coffees. Cultural experience with the Meanit people. Festive dinner.
Day 6 – Morning – Departure Gesha to Bonga. Spend the night in the Kaffa guesthouse, Bonga.
Day 7 – Sunday – Departure Bonga to Addis. Arrival in Addis around 4pm.
Stay at Gesha Village Estate
The Gesha Village Harvest Expedition 2015 takes place on-site at the estate farm of Adam Overton and Rachel Samuel, personal friends of Boot Coffee. Their farm will be your classroom. During the stay in Gesha we will camp in well equipped tents, amidst the beautiful nature of western Ethiopia. There will be 24/7 security to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The farm has (simple) facilities with bathrooms and shower.
From Harvest to Process to Cupping
The course takes place while the harvest is in full swing. With access to dozens of different lots being prepared and finished, there will be an emphasis on harvesting, processing and cupping in this class.
Students will stay on-site in tents situated at the campgrounds very near the farm and the nearby forest. Food, lodging, and transportation with 4×4 vehicles are all covered in the cost of the course.
Each participant is responsible for his or her own airfare to Addis Ababa and for the lodging in Addis. From Addis Ababa, we will cover your travel to and from Gesha Village Estate, and all meals at the farm.
December 5-13, 2015
Welcome to the pristine and relatively undiscovered land of Gesha Village Estate, the 500 hectare estate farm planted by Adam Overton and Rachel Samuel. This is where we will host the Gesha Village Harvest Expedition 2015.
The estate is located in the southern part of the Bench Maji region, which is just over 600 kilometers southeast from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The course starts in Addis and from there we will depart with modern 4×4 vehicles driven by skilled professional drivers. The first and last night will be spent in the town of Bonga, which is about half way between Addis and Gesha.
From the campgrounds of Gesha Village Estate, we will explore the farms and the settlements in the area, like the town of Gesha.
In 2004 I tasted my first cup of Geisha during a coffee competition in Panama. The incredible flavor profile hypnotized and mesmerized me. My dream to become a coffee farmer and to discover the origins of the Geisha variety became a quest that turned my world upside down.
In 2006 I planted my very first Geisha coffee tree on the slopes of my forest farm Finca La Mula. Meanwhile, I daydreamed entering into a wild coffee forest filled with majestic indigenous Geisha trees. I organized various expeditions to the far west of Ethiopia in search of the roots of this intriguing variety. After many explorations, I finally stumbled upon a relatively small forest in the province of Bench Maji, not too far from the town of Gesha. We collected various samples and started to investigate the flavor profiles.
Gesha Village Estate and Scientific Research
In 2008 I met Adam Overton and Rachel Samuel who came to Panama to learn about Geisha cultivation. In 2009 we started to collaborate in their startup of an Ethiopian coffee farm, which ultimately led us to the highlands near Gesha, where they leased about 500 hectares of land, including a native forest. In 2011 we discovered in the same region a forest with thousands of wild growing coffee trees and this is where we started conducting a genetic research, in collaboration with Dr. Sarada Krishnan, Director of Horticulture at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The research concluded with a high degree of certainty that we had found the true roots of Panama Geisha. The seeds from this wild coffee forest became the rootstock for many trees that currently grow at Gesha Village Estate.
Getting to Addis Ababa and Lodging
Participants must make their own arrangements for travel to/from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as well as for lodging in Addis Ababa. In Addis, the recommended hotel is the Saro Maria hotel.
Students must bring or arrange the following:
• sleeping bags
• head lamps
• water bottle
• mosquito spray
• hiking boots
• light rain jacket and/or fleece jacket
• warm clothing (nights are cold)
• sun hat
• sun lotion
• travel insurance with emergency (medical) coverage
December 5-13, 2015