Discover the Beans: Los Lajones Natural Geisha, Sweet Princess

Los Lajones Natural Geisha, Sweet Princess

Clean and sweet with tangy red apple acidity. Syrupy sweetness, redcurrants and black cherry juice. Candy-like sweetness.

The Geisha varietal is almost the stuff of legend in the coffee world. It’s the genus, the start of it all. It derives from seeds collected in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, for research purposes.

At that time, the Ethiopian Geisha was studied but not widely planted. It was noted for resistance to Leaf Rust, but low yields made it commercially non-viable.  Still, some of those seed,s from a research institute in Costa Rica, were sent to Panama and planted at Finca Esmerelda, owned by the Peterson family.

During cupping sessions at the farm in the early 2000s, some coffees expressed a delicious floral cup. When this was investigated further, this coffee was identified as coming from a particular part of the farm where Geisha trees were grown.

Queen and Princess:


At Los Lajones, Graciano Cruz first planted some Geisha seeds almost fifteen years ago and because of the high altitude of the farm the plants grew very slowly.  It took five years for the first flowering and cherry production. Those original trees are now known as “Queen” trees, and their seeds were used to produce the next generation of trees who are named “Princess”.

We gave it to a few people to try and here’s what they had to say.



queen geishaWe are thrilled to find microlots like this because to us these unique tastes represent some of the most committed, knowledgeable and skilled producers out there today.

There are still limited quantities of this available, one of the highlights of 2014.

Did you get a chance to at taste at Taylor St Baristas? W’d love to hear what you think about Sweet Princess – and how you’re brewing it.  Tweet us at @unionroasted or leave a comment here!

Coffee cocktails for cool autumn nights

Autumn’s here in force. Here at the roastery we’re making the most of the occasional blue-skies crisp sunny days.

When those misty dark evenings crawl in though, we’ve got the perfect autumnal cup to lift your spirits.

Honey it’s Cold Outside



  1. Place an espresso cup on your scales and tare off to zero, before adding 5 grams of the mānuka.
  2. Pour the Caturra shot directly onto the honey.
  3. Gently stir to blend the honey and espresso together.
  4. Return the cup to the scales. Tare off to zero, add 5 grams of rum and mix.


Honey It's Cold Outside

The Emporium Caturra (order online here) works brilliantly in this, we love its sweet, fruity, peardrop acidity with the delicious jammy aftertaste. It marries perfectly with the delicate spicy notes in smooth dark rum. Mānuka honey is native to New Zealand, and the evergreen mānuka tree’s intensely scented flowers make for a full-flavoured creamy honey.

Experiment too with a stovetop-brewed or Aeropress shot if you’d like a longer drink.

These flavours are wonderful blended together, and we prescribe a shot of this sweet, acidic, fruit and spice combination to shield you from the cold as the evenings draw in.

Finca Inmaculada, Colombia coffees – rare varietal, UK exclusive

We’ve been (just about!) keeping quiet about something that we’re very excited about, and we think you will be too.

One of the brilliant things about dealing directly with farmers is hearing first hand about exceptional coffees, sometimes in very small amounts.  That’s what we’re talking about here. Their genetic make-up yields low harvest volumes and means they typically are not attractive for commercial production. However the rare genetic varietals have exceptional cup quality, one of which is, in addition, low in caffeine.

As we have a limited amount of these coffees, we are operating a Priority Roast list invite.

We will be roasting orders for priority customers in the next fortnight.

To hear more about the Priority List and place advance orders for these coffees, you can sign up to our newsletter. Get on the list to ensure you don’t miss out!

Click here to get on the Priority Roast list

They’re very rare and cup quality is very special. If you want sensory exposure to complex fruits and heady florals, you have to try them.

Steven tells us more about this unique farm, producer and coffee.

Coffeeland discoveries

“Through our commitment to Union Direct Trade, and our desire to discover rare and delicious coffees we seek out superstar coffee producers whilst travelling in the Coffeelands. It is exciting to have encounters with people who have interesting approaches and a pioneering spirit with the courage to take chances on new exciting projects. Producers who think big in terms of quality and not just about quantity.

COL-APR14-05 Camilo Merizalde who produces our coffee from Finca Santuario in Cauca, Colombia had an extraordinary vision to construct an innovative  farm comprised of several smaller plots, each containing unique, exotic varietals with an astonishing cup profile.

 A dream coffee farm

At Finca Inmaculada, Camilo has created his dream on a small, eight hectare piece of land. The farm, located at the heart of the Andes mountains in the Valle del Cauca, translates to Inmaculate Farm.  And it is indeed perfect in every sense.  Here, in 2011 Camilo began to cultivate a limited  range of exotic coffee varietals.

These rare varietals were carefully chosen for their remarkable genetic material that produces exceptional cup quality, but are not normally cultivated commercially because of their low volume of production. The location of the farm contributes to the quality of the coffee, because extreme cool night temperatures slow maturation of coffee plants.

COL-APR14-23These trees are delicate and require extremely sensitive cultivation techniques to encourage propagation. To ensure they flourish the plants are cultivated under greenhouse conditions to ensure they thrive. This work is very labour intensive and hence cost of production is high. But preserving this important genetic material that expresses such a delicious cup profile requires genuine devotion.


Sudan Rume

COL-APR14-25The C. arabica accession Rume Sudan RS-510 was originally identified on the Boma Plateau, Rume Valley, south east Sudan. Seed gathered for botanical research by CENICAFE Research Institute was given to to Camilo Merezaldes in 2001, to help deliver his vision of cultivating these rare varietals. In July 2011, the first seedlings were planted on Inmaculada farm, in Cali, Colombia. Rume Sudan is a wild hybrid from the Bourbon varietal and resembles a mix of tropical fruit with an aroma of wild flowers in its taste. It is highly respected for expressing excellent flavour attributes, but its low productivity mean it’s not considered for producing a commercially viable crop.

Bourbon Pointu

COL-APR14-09The Bourbon Pointu tree is a dwarf-type with characteristic triangular shape of a typical Christmas tree,  small at the top and broadening out at the base. In 2001 this varietal was planted at the Santuario coffee garden with seeds received from CENICAFE Research Institution. When sufficient seeds reproduced and cup quality was evaluated as excellent, Camilo Merizalde planted Bourbon Pointu in Inmaculada farm in 2011.

The variety comes from a tiny island called Réunion, east of Madagascar and Southwest of Mauritius, where a Red Bourbon variety mutated to the variety we know today as Bourbon Pointu.”

If you’re interested in the science and stats behind these beans, it’s interesting to note that the composition of Laurina is very different from C. Arabica or C. Robusta; in particular it’s noted for its low caffeine.


data is % of dry weight

We are thrilled to have Bourbon Pointu and Rume Sudan, as well as the delicious Red Bourbon from Finca Santuario.

Summer Coffee Drinks: Iced Latte

When the mercury rises, we’ve got some great ideas for refreshing coffee drinks to keep you fuelled throughout the summer.

Iced Latte

iced latte lifestyle


Iced Latte is a classic that’s easy to prepare and never disappoints!

We suggest using Emporium Caturra Microlot from Panama (19g/35ml/25s/27g) or

Equinox (18g/40ml/25s/27g) as they both taste great with milk.

To give you the best tasting drink, we recommend you use ice cubes made using filtered water.

  • Place 4 ice cubes in a 7.5oz latte glass
  • Pour double espresso over ice – suggested coffees:
  • Top up with 4oz of cold milk

Let us know which coffee is your favourite for serving chilled – tweet us at @unionroasted