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Touchy Coffee, LLC
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EXTRA SPECIAL! 01.14.21
Writing Matthew Loiacono
Photography Shared Source
Location Nariño, Colombia

Though Touchy Coffee has been percolating for the past three years while developing our brand and honing our roasting aesthetic, there’s one offering level we have been waiting to unveil until our own roasting space was up-and-running in Troy, N.Y. – EXTRA SPECIAL!

Extra Special is that Grand Cru you find at the wine store, that Top Shelf that tempts you at the liquor store; superlative coffee offerings that go further than the extra mile – an achievement that spans from the beginning to the end of the coffee value chain. 

Imagine rare varieties, tiny special prep lots, experiments and burgeoning new crop that make us FEEL something extra special.

We have long felt this offering level was missing from our menu and are now endeavoring to have at least one Extra Special release available ALL the time, for those moments where you want to experience something truly otherworldly or gift such an experience to a friend / loved one. 

Welcome our first Extra Special coffee;  Colombia Carlos Belalcazar – a 100% gesha variety lot, grown practicing organic standards in a tiny microregion named La Chorrera in Narino, Colombia. 

Carlos only grows the gesha variety (!) in a simple and traditional manner on a few different plots on his small (2 hectares) farm which sits around an elevation of 1,800 meters above sea level. No wild fermentation tricks or processing magic applies here – just simple but effective farming techniques used to grow one of the most sought after varieties in the coffee world. 

If you're new to gesha, let’s sum it up for you; gesha (or “geisha”) is an isolated heirloom Ethiopia variety that originates in the village of Gesha, Ethiopia. It was transplanted to various Latin American coffee growing regions in the 1950's in an attempt to diversify arabica coffee and test how disease-resistant heirloom varieties would stand up in different regions. Fast forward to the 00s – a gangly, ugly, low-yield but HARDY shrub of coffee was found by the Peterson family at their Hacienda La Esmeralda farm in Panama. This plant and seeds that endured was found to possess an OTHERWORLDLY flavor – attributed to the heirloom Ethiopia's seed's genetic material interacting with Panama's terroir (growing conditions) and turning the coffee world on its ear. 

Coffea Arabica (the species) is NOT very diverse, which is TROUBLING for the long term existence of this plant we rely on so heavily and care for so deeply. Agronomists continue to try to diversify arabica coffee using all kinds of crossing/hybrid techniques and testing to find + create varieties that will be rust and disease resistant, high yield and taste good! It's very difficult to hit all these hallmarks in one variety. As of 2020, there are NO varieties that are completely resistant to disease! Though gesha is tough and thrives in adverse conditions and tends to taste WILD, it's an extremely low yield plant which is not great for farming.

Since that fateful first discovery of gesha growing in Panama by the Petersons, the popularity and mystique of the variety surged throughout EVERY growing region as farmers discovered MUCH more money could be made on well-grown, high scoring, rare varieties. Gesha coffee regularly scores high due to its complex/layered flavors AND commands high prices based on its rarity.

So here we are, 2021, Touchy Coffee, new roaster installed in Troy. 

Carlos’ coffee was offered to us by one of our long-time importer partners, Shared Source, and we immediately fell in love with it. We knew we had to share it as our first Extra Special offering, in the hopes that you would fall for it too.

The real magic in this coffee is its complexity. 

The list of sensory descriptors is outrageous: strawberry dust, toasted coconut, bergamot, bruised peach, white peach, white grape juice, London Fog, white sugar, peach candy, rooibos tea, pineapple, clean, exquisite, melon, fruit salad, layered, shifting, long finish, wildflower honey, AND THEN it all shifts and changes as it cools. Truly remarkable.

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