Brian Beyke

Slate Coffee Roasters - Lycello W2 Gesha

Brian Beyke
Slate Coffee Roasters - Lycello W2 Gesha
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When David (The Purista Blog/Terminus Coffee) tweeted out during SCAA in April that if he were reviewing this Lycello W2, a Ninety Plus Gesha Estates coffee, that it would have received a 10/10, I knew I had to hunt down where I could find some.  It landed me at Slate Coffee Roasters.  I won’t get into the story about complications and misunderstandings with the order, but just know I was holding on to this review for quite a long time hoping that I’d be trying the newer crop of Lycello from this year, but seeing as it won’t come to fruition I decided to go ahead and post, as at the time it was quite a profound coffee to uncover.  Let us investigate Lycello W2.  

Planted only five years prior, the Gesha trees from Ninety Plus have produced their first mature harvest this year. Lot 10, tucked away off the eastern coast of Panama, is grown on forested volcanic soil, providing temperature stability and plentiful nutrition, resulting in an astoundingly complex coffee.

Details:

Roaster: Slate Coffee Roasters

Producer: Ninety Plus Gesha Estates

Region: Silla Del Pando, Volcan, Panama

Estate: Lycello, Lot 10

Process: Washed

Varietal: Gesha

Elevation: 1,250 - 1,600m

Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 1:40 total time | 197 degrees | 1.25 TDS | 18.63% Ext.

This is a really interesting coffee. Sweet and crisp, but very soft. (lower extraction and TDS most likely)

Lychee and other tropical notes seem to exist, as well as grape and melon notes.  Floral weaves through everything with a honey sweetness, but it isn’t a syrupy body.  It has a darker cocoa note than I’m used to in the finish, but not quite dark chocolate.  With that in the finish there are slight nutty tones. Very pleasing, well balanced.

Lemon and tangerine-like citrusy acidity as well as some citrus squeezes too of lime and grapefruit juice.  Very long finish.

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Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 36g © to 552g (w) | 3:35 total time | 197 degrees | 1.32 TDS | 18.58 % Ext.

Crisp off the bat reminiscent of raspberries.  Sweeter and a little more vivacious than previous make. A lime-like acidity with citrusy squeezes still, and a soft light body.

Still has a honey-like sweetness but also has a bit of tea in the finish, otherwise cocoa notes as indicated before.

Cooling, a nice juiciness begins to develop with flavors of mint and sage showing up, a powdery floral lychee sweetness and a complex array of sweet and slightly tangy tropical fruits flesh out underneath.  Still carries sweet nutty tones in the long finish, creamy and soft.

Coming back to the cup, more sweetness comes out but so do the tangy fruit notes and the finish ever so lingering.  It has juiced quite significantly, with cranberry and tangerine seeming to take the lead, with honey and floral infused tea finishing.

The final stage of the cup are the most impressive: with raspberry, peach, apple and lemon pops tickling the first thoughts, changing to a cherry-like sweetness and strands of caramel, finishing with the slight hints of thyme and milk chocolate.

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Brew Method:

V60 with stir | 14g © to 233g (w) | 1:55 total time | 197 degrees | 1.38TDS | 21.22% Ext.

Gorgeous aroma. Cinnamon and rose, cherry and honeysuckle.

Delicate profile with the initial sips taste of lychee, caramel, and chocolate mousse. Soft and silky, with whispery finish.  Not as tart or crisp, definitely carries more sweetness and mousse.

More melon pops seem to come out in this method - juicy and sweet.  Really great clarity, a lot clearer than other gesha offerings I’ve had - reminds me if jello in that regard (fruit flavors but still a nice refreshing clarity).  Quite surprised the flavor isn’t jumping out at me with this being a higher extraction.

Cooling more is quite alive, quite complex, it’s just so incredibly soft in that.  I honestly wish I could speak just everything that I taste, I just can’t.  The aroma is as mesmerizing as the flavors- flavors of lemon and peach, apple and honeysuckle, rose water and honey.  Lightly syrupy, with smaller notes of cranberry than the previous make but I still find that slight tartness in the finish right before notes of cocoa, hops, and sandalwood come in.  (It makes me think that this is what John Varvatos drank as inspiration for his cologne line)

It still has a sweet, long finish complemented with honeydew, lemongrass, mint and honey, with the last drops leaving notes of tea leaves as well.  It’s hard to exactly pinpoint a flavor, as the highlighted notes shift the more it cools. Fascinating.

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Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 2:50 total time | 197 degrees | 1.25 TDS | 18.35% Ext. (preferred method)

Oh yea… This is it.  Light to medium bodied, really great syrupiness, incredibly aromatics (seriously, it fills the entire room with notes of lime and honeysuckle), a delicately effervescent acidity and lingering finish.  And these are only the first sips!

There are delightful herbal hints at play underneath a honey-sweet bed with notes of basil, bergamot, rose water, jasmine and an incredibly dense complexity of other fruit notes, specifically finding stone fruits like cherry and peach and apricot but also tropical notes of mango, lychee, and passion fruit.

Cooling further lightly crisp notes of various berries appear, as well as this soft chocolate mousse finish. Final sips still sing of floral and honey infused tea notes, still with a delicate density and complexity lingering on. 

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Brew Method:

Woodneck | 30g © to 480g (w) | 4:10 total time | 196 degrees | 1.39 TDS | 20.44% Ext.

Aroma of fruit loops and orange creamsicle - so tantalizing.  Basil, jasmine and honeysuckle too come out. Honestly; this is probably the most aromatic cup of coffee I’ve ever had - herbaceous yet fruited and immensely floral.  Beautiful.

Immensely crisp off the bat with long, long notes of honey, melon, passion fruit, honeysuckle, wild berry…. it’s quite ridiculous.  Tea-like in flavor but a little more body to it.  It’s so tasty - there’s pineapple and mango tropical fruits greeting the cup, transitioning you to a cherry-limeade flavor and acidity, closing out with basil and tea.  Raspberry, peach, apple, cantaloupe and honeydew, it’s nearly intoxicating, all wrapped up with floral notes of jasmine, lavender, honeysuckle, and rose water galore.

The floral-infused tea notes only grow sweeter and more lingering the further you dive in the cup. Cooling, the notes soften up but are still a bit more intense than the previous makes.

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Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 18g © to 230g (w) | 1:30 then plunge by 2:00 total time | 198 degrees | 1.37 TDS | 18.53% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Honey tea notes.  Really lacking the sparkle of other brew methods.  A bit of raspberry and apple seems to arrive with hints of mint I’m pretty sure we’re found in a previous method too.

Floral notes are found, but not as lingering, sweeping, or pleasant.  Still completely a gesha, but there isn’t the same clarity and beauty of flavors as in other makes.

The cooler it got, the more flavor came up from the cup and it ended more similarly to other makes: fruitied, floral, hints of lime, and a lingering sweet and tea-like finish.

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Brew Method:

Shaken Iced V60 | 28g © to 280g (w) | 140g ice | 2:10 total time | 198 degrees

Tea leaf, lychee, grapple, mango, honey.  Incredibly soft and airy - mousse-like.  Tangibly tastes of taking honeysuckle as a kid off the plant, pulling out the stem, and giving it a lick. Juicy and delectable.  Sweet, floral, and fruited, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it was a lot more reserved than say an iced Yirgacheffe. It is more like a porcelain doll in comparison, not as fun and playful.  It’s more than enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, just something I wanted to mention.

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At the time of drinking this coffee, it was all I could think about.  I had the Ruby Chelelektu come in shortly after that time, and two things were constantly on my mind.  The first being, this is the best coffee I’ve ever had.  Before the Chemex and Woodneck make, my summary looked something like this:

It’s quite simple really - no frills, no over the top fragrances or flavors…it’s just immensely dense in the softest way, with an ever changing flavor profile to constantly tease your brain while you attempt to find the root of your palate’s curiosity.  If I had to put it into one word, I’d say dazzling.  However, I will say it was a difficult coffee for me to sit with, as I still found myself (even in a ‘strong’ cup) wanting more from it. A little more oomph.  

Once the other methods gave up that oomph, I knew this coffee was very special.  It was simple, but it was incredibly complex and always left you thinking about what you were experiencing. 

The second thing I kept thinking about, and I’m pretty sure I’ve brought it up in previous write-ups, is that now I look at washed Ethiopians in comparison to this coffee.  The processing of washed Ethiopians has been so good this year, that when considering amount and cost of the coffee, that as amazing as this coffee was, and I did side-by-side comparisons and agreed this one definitely stood out above, but given the cost and amount I have found some stand-out Ethiopian offerings as well that remind me of the experience I had with this coffee.

This still might be the best geisha I’ve had this year, even in light of new grinders, brewing parameters, devices, and a slew of other geshas I’ve had in.  However, we’ll have to wait for those write-ups to be certain.  

Like I alluded to earlier, Slate didn’t source this coffee for the new crop, but I did notice it is roasted by Barrington’s this year.  Will I pick up their roast to find out?  Not sure, so stay tuned.  

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.