A few months ago, we broke with years of conspicuously public opposition to natural-processed coffees and bought a natural for the first time in a decade — a stunning Original Gesha variety natural from the Gesha Village farm in western Ethiopia. It was a small purchase by volume — a day lot that weighed in under 100 pounds — but a mighty big step for us. So big, in fact, that we decided to make it the topic for the inaugural episode of the Intelli Sourcing Sessions, our occasional podcast exploring coffee’s origins.
When we released that coffee last month, we paired it in a Special Collection with the very best washed Original Gesha day lot that Gesha Village could produce. The Big Ideas of that collection were to deliver a high-resolution sensory experience, to demonstrate the impact that processing can have on flavor, and to show what is possible when quality-obsessed growers combine pedigreed varieties, ideal growing conditions and experimental post-harvest processing.
The good news? The coffees were amazing.
The bad news? The collection sold out online in a matter of days, meaning that very few of our customers had the opportunity to participate in the return of natural-processed coffees to the Intelligentsia lineup.
We did, however, set aside a small amount of the natural for our retail customers. We will be brewing it this weekend only at Intelligentsia Coffeebars nationwide.
Before you come in to try it, listen to the first two episodes of the Intelli podcast, and stay tuned for the release of a third early next week.
The first is a conversation with Intelli VP for Coffee Geoff Watts that explores naturals, their role in specialty, and their return to the Intelli menu. The second features a conversation with Rachel Samuel, the Ethopian-born filmmaker who created Gesha Village with her husband Adam Overton. And the forthcoming third episode is another conversation with Geoff, this one the first installment in our Buyer’s Notebook series — stories about our coffees from the buyers themselves.