One coffee received a 97+ score, the other sold for $803 per pound—both have made their way to Klatch Coffee from their home at the Lamastus Estate in Boquete, Panama.
BY QUINTAN VALLES
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Photos courtesy of Quintan Valles
Last year, Southern California’s Klatch Coffee Roasters treated the public to a special event tasting of the renowned Esmeralda Gesha 601. Selling for $601 per pound, the Esmeralda Gesha was the most expensive coffee in the world … until now.
Mike Perry, Klatch Coffee’s owner and founder, served as a judge at this year’s Best of Panama competition, where he and others tasted not one but two of the most exciting coffees to enter the specialty world.
The Elida Washed Gesha 661 and the Elida Natural Gesha 803 both make their way from the Lamastus Estate in Boquete, Panama, owned and operated by Perry’s longtime friend Wilford Lamastus.
With these two exceptional coffees, Wilford won first place in the washed and natural categories. “No one has ever won first place in both categories in the history of the competition,” says Mike. “Wilford is in a wonderful area in Boquete. He has a lot of elevation—that’s one thing you can’t manufacture. A lot of his Geshas are at this wonderful high elevation. Some of the coffees that have won competitions in the past just can’t compete with these.”
After a blind tasting of the Elida Washed, Mike gave the coffee a 97+ score. “In 25 years of cupping coffee, the Elida Washed Gesha 661 is the best cup I’ve ever enjoyed and the highest score I’ve ever given,” Mike says.
It’s no surprise that this astounding washed coffee received such a response from Mike—it’s unbelievably crisp and clean, with striking floral, citrus, and stone fruit notes. “You can taste the stone fruit in it and a ton of flowers” comments Mike. “You have clear notes of lemon citrus, apricot, and lychee—it’s so transparent.”
This tasty coffee auctioned off for $661 per pound, breaking the record of last year’s Esmeralda Gesha, but still not taking the title of the world’s most expensive coffee.
That title belongs to Wilford’s Elida Natural Gesha 803 that sold for (you guessed it) $803 per pound. The flavors of this pricy bean are rather extraordinary, with a wonderful clean sweetness and full body you expect out of a high-quality natural Gesha. As Mike explains, “You can taste candied orange, peach, nectarine, and you’ll notice it has more body and more feel than the 661.”
How does this compare to last year’s Esmeralda Gesha 601, you might ask? Mike breaks it down like this: “The 601 was an amazing coffee. It had much more fruit and berries. It tasted more natural. These [661 and 803] are more transparent. You can clearly taste everything in them.”
Klatch Coffee is now the only roaster in the U.S. to obtain these coffees and give coffee drinkers an exclusive opportunity to try them. “With coffee like these, even though we paid a huge amount of money,” says Mike, “it’s really about letting people come in and experience something they couldn’t otherwise.”
October 20 is your chance to try these coffees at Klatch’s roastery in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. They will be offering a cup of either the Natural 803 or the Washed 661 for $75, which includes a special-edition mug and a letter from the Lamastus farm. Now for those of you who want to try both, and you will, you can have the best of both worlds for $125.
Tickets to the event are on sale now; if you can’t make the trip down to the roastery, Klatch will mail the beans to your door.
Mike and the Klatch crew are excited to share this experience with their customers, and Mike says creating coffee experiences like this are a huge part of their philosophy. “Klatch is coffee and conversation,” says Mike. “We want people talking about coffee, and I think this creates that talk in an exciting kind of way.” He continues, “This isn’t going to rock the boat on dollars or on the volume of our business. For those that get to enjoy it, it’s going to rock their view on what’s possible in coffee.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Quintan Valles is a freelance writer based in Southern California. He is also a relationship builder for Wild Goose Coffee Roasters and a coffee blogger. Quintan enjoys playing the guitar and maintaining an active lifestyle. His favorite part about working in the coffee industry is hearing the stories of the people who make up coffee culture—and, of course, the occasional gibraltar.