About Us

Reviving a Region: The Story of Gesha Village

In the far western reaches of Ethiopia lie the dense, wildly sprouting jungles of Bench Maji Zone. This breathtaking landscape is home to Gesha Village Coffee Estate, our 475-hectare coffee farm. Since 2011, we have been transforming this remote piece of land into the coffee farm of our dreams, cultivating some of the world’s best Gesha coffees mere kilometers from the variety’s birthplace in Ethiopia’s Gori Gesha forest.

AdamRachel

 After years of hard work, we’re proud to say that we’re now producing coffees as awe-inspiring as our surroundings. We did not expect to become Gesha coffee farmers, but our love for Ethiopia pulled us into this profession. Rachel was born here, and in 2007 we arrived to make a documentary about Ethiopia’s amazing coffee. It was then that we developed a passion for the country, its people and its coffee industry.

We began studying coffee thoroughly, which led us to San Francisco Bay Area-based coffee educator Willem Boot. Under Willem’s tutelage we learned the fundamentals of growing and evaluating coffee with a quality focus, and found ourselves enamored by the mystique of Willem’s favorite coffee varietal, Gesha— though we had no idea we’d soon become Gesha farmers ourselves. We returned to Ethiopia and began searching for the perfect piece of land to start our farm. Our pursuit led us to more and more remote areas, and eventually to the prized terroir of the Gesha woreda in Bench Maji. The virtually untouched landscape provided not just a perfect spot to build our farm from the ground up, but—as we soon found out—in close proximity to the Gori Gesha forest. Before we knew it we were venturing with Willem into the thick jungle, where we discovered a magical, radiant forest protected by a canopy of heavy brush from native Cordia, Albizia, and countless other native plant varieties. Here we found wild Gesha plants growing free and plentiful, and harvested a seed selection to plant on our farm.

All at once we had the essential ingredient for creating something incredible, but we still had a seemingly endless amount of work ahead of us to turn this untapped beauty into a productive coffee farm. That’s exactly what came next, as we spent month after tireless month developing the infrastructure necessary to produce coffee. We trucked in construction materials, along with basic necessities like food and water. We planted wild coffee trees, eventually deciding on three exquisite varieties. And we forged relationships with the indigenous Meanit people inhabiting Bench Maji, who make up a large portion of our workforce. They welcomed us largely because of our commitment to preserving the land and fostering its biodiversity. We’ve supported the community in turn by creating the Gesha Village Foundation, which promotes educational growth through the support of the two schools adjacent to the farm.

In the five-plus years since we launched Gesha Village, we have worked hard to develop a specialty market for coffee in the Gesha region. Now in 2017, we’re building off of all the hard work from our staff and community to introduce Gesha Village to the greater specialty-coffee world, from leading roasting companies to world-class barista competitors. They’re discovering not just the amazing quality of the coffee, but a humble story of revival, community, and innovation. This is truly just the beginning. The wonders ahead should give specialty-coffee lovers much to get excited about.

- Adam Overton and Rachel Samuel, Gesha Village