Colombia Pitalito Macerated Honey Gesha

Varietal: Gesha
Altitude: 1700-1900 masl
Processing: Macerated honey
Roast: Light
Tasting Notes: Orange blossom, cardamom, lemon tea, cane sugar

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Pitalito is a district in southern Huila, and one of the leading producers of coffee in the entire country of Colombia. Within its bounds, 25 small producers have joined forces with Terra Coffee SAS, a producer-run business which has been with coffee growers in southern Colombia to find and create some of the most exciting new qualities people have seeen in recent years. This coffee here, for example, is a semi-experimental “macerated” honey Gesha coffee.

The flavor profile is complex and true to character with floral notes leaning towards orange blossoms, strong stone fruit peachiness, a pink lemonade-like acidity, and a sweet spice and pipe tobacco resolution.

In addition to traceability, one of Terra’s specialties is homogenizing specific, innovative processing methods across a number of different farms. In this case, 25 Gesha-growing farmers processed their harvests in identical ways: after the cherries were picked, they were depulped and then briefly macerated (or fermented) for about 12 hours. After this, the lightly fermented mucilage-covered parchment was taken to dry on raised beds under parabolic shade for a long 20-25 day drying period.

A number of characteristics in this process are worth unpacking. The fermentation of honey process coffees is something we’re seeing more and more – a brief holding period where the coffee is allowed to macerate prior to drying enhances the fruitiness of the honey processing method without significantly altering the amount of pulp left on the parchment. Additionally, in high quality Colombian coffees, we also frequently see the parabolic drying as an important quality step: the shade provides protection from both seasonal rain and UV light, both of which can damage drying coffee, particularly when the drying takes as long as it has here.