After getting teased all weekend on Instagram, our friends and partners at Intelligentsia Coffee are now ready to debut a limited edition new run of reserve coffees, unveiled under the project name Café Inmaculada. This release is comprised of three distinct and rare coffee varieties, including the “Maragesha,“ a spontaneous crossing of the maragogype variety with the famed gesha variety, the variety perhaps most prized by coffee enthusiasts around the world.
Café Inmaculada translates to “Immaculate Coffee”, and is a collaboration between Camilo Merizalde of the famed Finca Santuario and his childhood friends, the brothers Santiago, Andres and Julian Holguin. The program began in November 2011 in the Valle de Cauca region of southwestern Colombia, near the city of Cali, using a tiny 8 hectare plot of land belonging to the Holguin family. Together with Intelligentsia, these producers have created from scratch a brand new coffee growing project on previously untouched soil, planted intentionally with shade-giving guava trees and rare, previously commercially unavailable coffee varieties.
These five exotic coffee varieties are well-known in coffee breeding circles as genetic source material that produce exceptional cups of coffee, but are extremely rarely planted on farms because of their very low production yields. Speaking with Sprudge from Honduras, Intelligentsia green buyer and co-owner Geoff Watts told us that Cafe Inmaculada's location – influenced by a wild temperature swing from daytime to night, and moisture-laden winds from the nearby Pacific Ocean – amounted to the ideal environmental conditions for cultivating exotic coffees.
Here's more info from intelligentsia and Mr. Watts on the three cultivars on offer. Other offerings from Cafe Inmaculada, including a rare commercial cultivation of the eugenioides mother plant from which Arabica is descended, may be made available in late 2014.
Laurina: This cultivar, a.k.a. Bourbon Pointu, comes from Réunion Island just off the coast of Madagascar. It is the direct descendent of the trees responsible for seeding most of Latin America, and was all but forgotten for most of the 20th century. It has the distinction of being extremely low in caffeine.
Maragesha: This is a spontaneous wild cross of Maragogype and Gesha that occurred in the Santuario farm outside of Popayán, where trees of the two varieties were growing next to one another. It does not exist anywhere else, and this lot is the first to have ever been harvested. Mr. Watts offered us flavor notes of “blackberry jam, with slightly floral and lemony notes we associate with Gesha.” The dominant flavor note in this coffee is “tropical.”
Befitting the release of three never-before-seen coffees, Intelligentsia has for the first time decided to issue a special edition pack of coffees, with custom packaging designed in-house by the Intelli graphic design team (with support from Rohner Letterpress). These distinctive three-pack tins contain 50g bags of each cultivar (good for 3-5 8oz cups depending on how strong you brew your coffee), and will retail for $50.
Pre-order for Cafe Inmaculada begins Wednesday, January 22nd and is available on the Intelligentsia website or at one of 11 retail coffee bars in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. The first roast happens February 7th. If you miss your chance to order or can't quite swing the $50, Intelligentsia will also be running Friday tastings of the coffees at their Broadway Coffeebar in Chicago and their Venice Beach cafe in LA for the next three weeks. Watch Intelligentsia on Facebook and Twitter for further details.
Conventional coffees from Finca Santuario are exclusive to Intelligentsia in North America. Australian Sprudge readers can enjoy Finca Santuario coffees via Proud Mary Coffee and Bennetts. UK readers can find them through Union Hand Roasted Coffee.