From the Bolaven Plateau of Laos comes the fifth instalment of our Map Series, a selection of unique, premium coffees with a story to tell.
Want to buy 500g or more? You can, but anything over 500g does not come in the bespoke box I'm afraid!
Please note: This coffee really opens up after 7 days rest. Any earlier and it does not offer the same kind of complexity that it is capable of.
JELLY BABIES / WATERMELON / APPLE JUICE
How you can brew this coffee:
V60, Chemex, Kalita, Syphon, Cafetiere, Aeropress and Drip Machine (Moccamaster, Wilfa Classic etc).
Chosen for its complex flavour and unusual origin, Phetlamka offers the distinct cup we’ve come to expect from a Gesha.
Sugary yet incredibly clean, this coffee marries the richness of apple juice with aromatic, sweet notes of lychee and watermelon, bursting with flavour that lingers beyond the final sip.
The Origin: Laos
Coffee first arrived in Laos in the early 1990s, brought by French colonists - but was largely abandoned at the outbreak of WWII. Following the Vietnam War, the people of Laos began to slowly rebuild the coffee industry, though heavy bombing by American aircraft of the region made this very difficult, and tragically a great number of unexploded ordnances litter the area to this day.
Planted originally in the cooler northern region of the country, production shifted to the Bolaven Plateau in the south, a climate which boasts high altitudes, rich volcanic soil, with plenty of sunshine and rainfall. In contrast to the mountainous terrain of the north, gentle slopes abound in the south, making it much easier on which to farm.
Many producers in Laos are making the transition to specialty coffee, investing in more premium varietals and experimental processes. As well as access to cash, this also allows producers and their families better access to education and healthcare, where over 20% of the population of Laos lives under the poverty line.
The Varietal: Gesha
The Gesha (or Geisha) varietal is a really interesting one. In the specialty world it has become a byword for excellence, known for producing a very refined and distinctive cup.
The varietal hails from an Ethiopian village of the same name, but largely flew under the radar until the early 2000s. As a plant, it grows best at high altitudes, produces small yields and is famously delicate - all factors that contribute to its high price and exclusivity.
For producers, growing a varietal such as this (if done successfully) can bring high rewards. This is why a growing number of producers in countries such as Laos are not only making the transition to farming specialty grade coffee, but investing in rarer varietals and more interesting processes to increase their returns. However, Gesha's are notoriously particular to grow, so great care, attention and knowledge must go into their cultivation.
Processing: Natural Carbonic Maceration
This is not the first Natural Carbonic Maceration we've stocked, and there's good reason we keep coming back to it. Considered somewhat experimental, it's a process that actually originates from the wine industry.
It works by sealing the coffee cherries in airtight tanks, flushed with carbon dioxide to remove any residual oxygen. This results in a slower fermentation, allowing more unusual and complex flavours to develop.
Your coffee will be roasted within 1-16 days of purchase, with a shelf life of 6 weeks (optimum serving point of 10-36 days). We recommend letting this coffee rest for at least 12 days before using.