Pedro and his family have invested a lot of time and effort into trying to make each of their plantations a ‘model’ farm that other producers in the area can learn from. Along with a focus on proper farming practices, the family have trialled several varieties at Las Alasitas, including Gesha, San Bernardo, Caturra and Java. This particular lot is 100% Gesha – a variety renowned for its exceptional cup quality and distinct flavour profile.
Gesha seeds were originally collected from Ethiopian coffee forests in the 1930s. They were initially kept and studied at the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute, and subsequently at Costa Rica’s Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (known as CATIE). Both institutes recognised the variety’s resistance to coffee leaf rust, yet it was not propagated thoroughly due to the tree’s brittle branches. Luckily, in the 1960s, the variety was distributed to farmers in Panama by Francisco “Pachi” Serracin. Gesha trees made their way to the country’s Boquete region, where they grew at high elevations without attracting much attention from local farmers. It wasn’t until the Peterson family, in Boquete’s Hacienda La Esmeralda, noticed a number of trees that had not been affected by a recent bout of leaf rust on a newly-acquired plot of land, and decided to separate and cultivate them. The rest is history: the lot produced by these trees went on to win the Best of Panama competition in 2004, as its delicate, floral aroma and distinct flavour profile pushed the boundaries of what coffee could taste like.
All of the Rodríguez family’s learnings have also been shared with local producers through a training program that the family has developed called ‘Sol de la Mañana.’ Head here to learn more about this wonderful program, and here to learn more about the incredible work the Rodríguez family and Agricafe are doing in Bolivia.