Have you always heard about Geisha coffee but were never sure what it was and why it was so expensive? Have you always wanted to try a cup but your unsure if it was worth the price? Well, be sure to keep reading, and you can get a better idea about what takes to grow and harvest Geisha coffee beans and what is the best way to try a (small) bag or cup
Geisha coffee, also called Gesha, is one of the most exclusive coffees in the world. It originally came from Ethiopia and now the most well known comes from a specific region in Panama. It is well known for its incredibly distinct flavor and high price.
Geisha coffee is pretty hard to get your hands on, as cafes and coffee shops around the world have to bid just for a chance to sell this luxurious concoction.
If you ever find yourself in Panama, you can get a cup of Geisha for around $9, which is more expensive than your regular Starbucks brew, but that’s nothing compared to how much a cup sells for around the world. Getting a cup in New York will cost you around $18, and if you try to get one in Dubai you’ll have to pay around $68 for a single cup.
So what’s the buzz with this coffee? What is it exactly? Why is it so expensive? And is it worth the price? We get into the nitty gritty of Geisha or Gesha coffee in this article.
Is It Geisha Or Gesha?
The coffee is most commonly known as Geisha coffee, which has actually led to a lot of confusion. As you might know, the term geisha has long been understood to mean Japanese entertainer long before the coffee from Panama took the world by storm.
This has actually lead to a lot of confusion regarding the term. A lot of coffee shops have sold the coffee using Japanese imagery as that’s what people have come to expect from the term.
However, before the coffee hit the scene in 2004 when it was featured on the Best of Panama auction that year, locals have been harvesting and serving the coffee for decades on end. Locals refer to the coffee as Gesha, which is only a one letter difference, but actually means a lot when talking about this coffee.
Geishas are known as something completely different to what Gesha is, which is why some coffee enthusiasts have pushed for the public to refer to the coffee as Gesha, which is what it’s known as in Panama.
It may actually be more correct to call it Gesha coffee, but since it’s more known by the incorrect name, don’t be surprised if you encounter a lot of people referring to it as Geisha coffee.
Where Does Geisha Coffee Come From And Where Is It Grown?
Gesha coffee is grown in Panama. The coffee cherries are grown in a very specific area, Volcan Baru, which is the tallest mountain in Panama, The coffee cherries actually trace their roots to Ethiopia, but the process of growing the cherries was brought to perfection in Panama.
It was brought to Costa Rica from Ethiopia sometime in the 1950’s, to be studied by the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center. Soon after, the plant found its way to Panama as a new type of coffee that can be cultivated in the region.
From there, the process of growing the coffee was perfected, which has brought Gesha coffee to the heights it reached in recent years.
What Makes Geisha Coffee Special?
The main reason the Gesha coffee is so special is actually the plant itself. The variation of the regular coffee cherry which was originally from Ethiopia provides special characteristics that sets the coffee apart. Aside from that, the process of drying and roasting the beans is also unique to Gesha coffee.
All the beans are hand-picked on the Volcan Baru mountain by locals. They are then dried for a bit more than a week (8 days, to be specific) or until the beans reach the ideal humidity, which is the sign that the beans can then be sold “green”.
The beans are then roasted to perfection, which makes them ready to be brewed into the same cup of coffee that blew the minds of all the judges at the 2004 Panama’s Best coffee auction.
Who Grows Geisha Coffee Today?
There are multiple plantations that cultivate Geisha coffee, but the most famous of these plantations being the Hacienda la Esmeralda, which is one of the original farms that obtained the coffee seeds from the research center in Costa Rica in the 1950’s.
The plantation has perfected the tradition of Geisha coffee over the past couple of decades, which is what led them to be the supplier of the coffee beans that won the best coffee award in 2004, which caused Geisha coffee to become world-famous seemingly overnight.
The Taste of Geisha Coffee
Time to answer the biggest question regarding the coffee, after all it was the taste that brought Gesha to where it is now. Experts have described the coffee to have a flavor that is unmatched by any other coffee in the world. The flavor is described to be almost tea-like, and fruity, with a smooth and silky texture.
The aroma of the coffee alone is said to be incredibly unique, with some connoisseurs describing it as unbelievable, almost comparable to a perfume with notes of jasmine, rose, and bergamot.
The taste of the coffee is considered to be top-quality. In fact, most coffees don’t even come close when it comes to the taste. The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) is a group that specializes in everything coffee related, from baristas to the coffee cherries themselves.
The SCA also has a point system for ranking the flavors of certain coffees. The system scores the flavor profile of the coffee based on a bunch of different variables that were crafted by experts in the field, with the maximum score being 100.
Geisha coffee has a whopping 94.1-point score based on the SCA system, which is probably a perfect and most objective possible testament to the incredibly high quality of Geisha coffee.
The Cost of Geisha Coffee
Those who are new to the coffee scene may only know Gesha coffee for its price tag, which is completely understandable considering that a pound of the coffee can cost up to $600.
The price of the coffee is probably the most popular characteristic of Geisha coffee, which is a shame considering the incredibly history, flavor profile, and process behind the coffee. But what is the actual reason Geisha coffee is so expensive?
Firstly, growing the coffee is already a difficult process. The coffee cherries need very specific environmental conditions for the plants to grow properly.
This is why they are primarily grown in Panama’s highest mountain, as conditions there are perfect for Geisha coffee. However, the main reason the coffee has gotten so expensive has to be the great demand for it.
Only a certain amount of coffee can be grown every year, and that amount is far from enough considering how many people want to get their hands on the coffee.
Demand is so high that coffee shops can’t just go to a supplier and get a bag of beans for themselves, coffee shops actually have to place a bid for even a chance to get their hands on the coffee, which has led to intense competition and a very high price tag.
Of course, all it’ll take is on google search for “cheap Gesha/Geisha coffee” to find a bunch of bags of coffee that are for sale much cheaper than the advertised price, but the validity of the coffee is questionable at best.
Cheap Geisha coffee is probably far from genuine and can actually just be regular coffee beans in different packaging, which is definitely not what you want when looking for a taste of Geisha coffee.
If you want to try 100% true Geisha coffee you can take a look at Hayman, which can be found on Amazon . Current price is $80 for 6.7 ounces
Is It Worth The High Price?
The short answer? Yes.
There is no other coffee on the planet that tastes like Gesha coffee. The flavor alone made the world rush to the stores looking for Gesha coffee beans, as experts from all around the world were blown away with a single sip.
You won’t be able to find a cup coffee with the same texture, consistency, flavor, and aroma of Geisha coffee, which is why demand for the coffee is much higher than the supply coming in from Panama.
Of course, the answer will also depend on the person you’re asking. Coffee connoisseurs and enthusiasts will probably say that the coffee is worth it without a second thought, but those who only drink a couple of cups a week might have a different answer.
There’s no doubt the coffee is great and merits a price tag that high, but if you aren’t really one who appreciates and notices the subtle difference in flavor when it comes to coffee, you may actually find the price ridiculous.
However, if you’re someone who knows their coffee well, or even just someone who loves coffee, then you should definitely get your hands on a cup the next time the opportunity presents itself.
Gesha coffee has an incredibly rich history, incomparable taste, and an odor that’s to die for. It’s definitely a coffee that’s earned the reputation, price tag, and exclusivity that it currently has, and anyone who knows coffee well will vouch for that.
A cup of it is worth it, especially if it’s readily available, but it’s important to do the proper research on the supplier to figure out whether the coffee being sold is legitimate Geisha coffee from Panama, otherwise you’ll just be wasting your money.
Now that you know all the important facts when it comes to Geisha coffee, the only thing left to do is go out and try a cup for yourself and decide whether it deserves the title of World’s Best Coffee.