August 30, 2018

Shattah Geisha Tartárico: Beyond the Process

By Jamie Isetts
Shattah Geisha Tartárico: Beyond the Process

Shattah Geisha will only be available in Merit Coffee/Local Coffee locations beginning September 8th. Dying to try it? Write us at and we’ll ship to you on request.

Our Gold Lantern offerings showcase the top 5% of our offerings based on our cupping scores. Many of these coffees highlight new techniques that challenge our conception of what defines a typical cup of coffee. 
Mauricio Shattah is not the typical Colombian producer. He has the resources and the vision to create something that no other farmer in a country famous for coffee cultivation can offer. Here we’ll explore his approach with our offering of his Geisha lot using the washed process with tartaric acid. Click here for more info about this coffee's unique processing method.


Just as a green grape grows and tastes differently than a red grape, the Arabica species of coffee has myriad sub-varieties. One particularly revered variety is “Geisha,” or “Gesha,” which hails historically from the town of Gesha in Ethiopia. After a complicated history, this variety made its way to Panama where it became a hignly coveted luxury in the world of coffee connoisseurs. Mauricio purchased the Geisha seeds for this lot from a Panamanian farm and began cultivating them at Finca La Negrita. These Geisha plants’ expression in a Shattah’s terroir is familiar, but distinct from Geisha coffees grown in Panama.


Shattah comes from a medical background. He approaches farming with an attention to detail that seems to point to this history. His entire farm is a made-to-order garden of exotic varieties processed with the most cutting-edge techniques available.
The farm, Finca La Negrita, is in the Colombian state of Tolima. The farm is high up, but its location offers ample cloud cover that hides the cherries from direct sunlight. The snow-capped Tolima volcano is within 15 miles, and dictates the weather and soil type.
Something I’ve noticed: most farmers of Mauricio’s caliber are stewards to their community and environment. This stuff isn’t just lip service. It actually makes the coffee taste better.
Finca La Negrita employs staff year-round (not just during the harvest), and, according to Shattah, pays 25% more than the average rate in the area. The farm uses no herbicides and only organic fertilizers. Shattah cultivates plants that cater to the bee population. He even purchased a second farm nearby to prevent it from being clear-cut.  


An unusual consequence of Finca La Negrita’s inimitable organization is the fact that many of Shattah’s coffees are made-to-order for his roaster clients. Based on a preliminary cupping and Shattah’s recommendations, we chose this process, lot, and variety nearly a year ago. The farm then created the coffee with the 2018 harvest specifically for Merit, in the quantity that we desired.