Geisha coffee, now the priciest in the world, is catching the eyes of coffee lovers everywhere.
Known for its standout taste, Geisha’s climb to fame is quite a tale.
In this article, I’ll help you explore where it comes from, its journey to stardom, and just why it’s so prized.
What is Geisha Coffee?
Geisha coffee stands out as one of the most expensive coffee around the world, hitting an incredible $2,500 per pound in 2021. This variety is celebrated not just for its rarity, but also for its exceptional taste and numerous awards.
Geisha coffee is a rare gem from Ethiopia’s mountains. Now the most well-known comes from a specific region in Panama. Each sip hints at lavender and jasmine, delighting taste buds. It’s a top pick for its unique taste. This coffee is made the old-fashioned way, which adds to its charm.
Geisha stands out for its floral and fruity tastes, unlike your everyday. It’s like a sip of nature, with hints of jasmine, peach, and sometimes even a berry-like zing.
Farmers love Geisha for its rarity and the high prices it fetches. On the other hand, coffee lovers seek it for its unique taste experience. It’s not just a cup of coffee; it’s a taste adventure that has changed the coffee game globally. Countries across the world now compete to grow the best batch of Geisha, making it a global coffee celebrity.
Geisha or Gesha: The Name Debate
The name mix-up between “Geisha” and “Gesha” coffee comes from a mix of tradition and language differences. “Gesha” is the right name from Ethiopia, where this coffee was first found. This special coffee comes from the Gesha area but got the name “Geisha” somewhere along the way.
Some folks think the name stuck because it’s close to a Japanese term, or maybe there was a little confusion when people were talking about it across different languages. But some people think we should use “Gesha” to respect where the coffee comes from and to avoid mixing it up with anything from Japan.
Just like some city names change when you say them in different languages, like “Θεσσαλονίκη” in Greek becoming “Thessaloniki” in English, the name of this coffee changed too. Although many people say “Geisha,” using “Gesha” is a way to remember the coffee’s true roots in Ethiopia. Both names tell a story of how this coffee traveled from the wild forests of Ethiopia to coffee lovers all around the world.
Unique Source of Geisha Coffee
Geisha Coffee’s story starts in Ethiopia back in the 1930s. It got its name from the Gesha region and was famous for fighting off a common coffee plant disease. In the 1950s, people wanted to learn more about it, so they sent some seeds to a research center in Costa Rica. There, they found out the coffee was really good at resisting the disease.
Then a man named Don Pachi Serracin brought Geisha seeds to Panama. But at first, it didn’t grow well because it was too low to the ground. Geisha coffee needs high places to thrive.
In 2004, everything changed. A farm in Panama, called Hacienda La Esmeralda, grew beans up high in the mountains. They took this coffee to a big competition and won first place!
They sold it for a super high price, $770 for just one kilogram. This was a big deal and made it famous for its amazing taste and quality. This farm made even more history in 2017 when they sold their Geisha coffee for $1029 per kilogram, turning it into one of the most expensive and wanted coffees out there.
Panama Geisha Coffee Flavor Profile
Panama Geisha coffee is special, much like a rare wine. It’s known for its light but complex taste. The first flavor you notice might remind you of jasmine flowers. This is followed by a slight sourness, which then reveals a mix of sweet fruit flavors like papaya, mango, berries, and oranges.
Now, why is it so well-loved? It’s the taste that sets it apart. Experts say its flavor is unmatched, almost like tea, and very fruity. It feels smooth and silky to drink.
Just smelling this coffee is an experience. Some coffee lovers say it’s incredible, like a perfume with scents of jasmine, rose, and bergamot.
When it comes to flavor, it is a standout. The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), which knows all about coffee, has a scoring system to rate coffee flavors. They look at many aspects of taste, with 100 being a perfect score.
Geisha coffee has scored an impressive 94.1 on the SCA’s scale. This high score is a strong sign of Geisha Coffee’s excellent quality.
Elida Geisha coffee
Elida Geisha coffee comes from the Elida Estate in Panama, owned by the Lamastus family. It grows high up where it’s cool, which helps give it a special taste. The soil there is also full of nutrients from old volcanoes, which is perfect for these coffee plants.
This coffee is famous for tasting great and has won lots of awards. When you drink it, you might taste flowers, a sharp zing, and sweet fruits like citrus and jasmine. They make it with extra care, using methods that bring out these flavors.
Because they make it so carefully and it’s not easy to find, Elida Geisha coffee is very valuable. People around the world are willing to pay a lot for it.
How Does Geisha Grow?
Geisha coffee comes from Panama, near Volcan Baru, Panama’s highest peak. This coffee started in Ethiopia, but Panama made it thrive. Here, farmers learned the best ways to grow it.
Geisha coffee plants are tricky to grow. They need high places, over 1,400 meters high, and don’t give many beans. Their leaves are thin, making it hard for them to turn sunlight into food. And their roots don’t absorb water and nutrients as well as other coffee plants. For instance, a Geisha plant has fewer beans than a Catuai plant.
Geisha coffee beans are really picky about when they need to be picked – it has to be just the right moment. Once harvested, there’s no time to waste; they’ve got to be processed quickly to keep all the good flavors.
Why is Geisha Coffee So Expensive?
1. Scarcity and Growing Conditions
Geisha coffee is rare because it only grows well in certain places with the right mix of high mountains and soil full of nutrients. There aren’t many places like this, which makes it quite special and not easy to find.
2. Labor-Intensive Process
Making Geisha coffee takes a lot of work. Farmers pick each coffee cherry by hand, choosing only the best ones. Geisha coffee growers are real pros at what they do. They pick the beans when they’re just ripe and take great care in processing them. It’s this attention to detail that makes the coffee so special. Every step matters to them, and you can taste that effort in every cup. All this extra work means it costs more to produce Geisha coffee.
3. Market Dynamics and Quality
Selling Geisha coffee is a unique experience. It often happens at auctions, kind of like an art sale, where only the top-notch beans are up for grabs. These beans are so special that people are willing to pay a pretty penny for them.
Buyers know it is excellent and has a taste that stands out, so they’re willing to pay more to get it. This bidding war at auctions makes Geisha coffee even more valuable.
Conclusion: Worth to Taste?
In the world of coffee, Geisha coffee stands as a shining star. With enchanting flavors of jasmine, peach, and a hint of berry, it offers a sensory experience unlike any other. Moreover, the rarity and meticulous care in cultivation and processing justifies its high price tag.
But is it worth tasting? Absolutely. Its high scores and accolades speak volumes about its quality and the exceptional experience it promises.
So, if you’re a coffee lover looking to expand your palate, Geisha coffee is a must-try.
Read more: Sumatra Coffee: What Makes It Different?