Geisha (coffee)

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Coffee Variety Information
Leaf Tip ColorGreen or Bronze
Bean SizeAverage
Quality PotentialExceptional
Yield PotentialMedium
Coffee Leaf RustTolerant
Coffee Berry Disease (CBD)Susceptible
WCR Variety Catalog: Geisha (Panama)

Geisha coffee, sometimes referred to as Gesha coffee,[1] is a variety of coffee tree that originated in the Gori Gesha Forest, Ethiopia, though it is grown in several other nations such as Colombia.[2] It is widely known for its unique flavor profile of floral and sweet notes, its high selling price, and its exclusivity as its demand has increased over the years.[1]

While there are many varieties labeled gesha (or geisha), the Panamanian Geisha has a distinct and verifiable genetic fingerprint[3][4][5]. After its discovery in Ethiopia, it was sent to the Limungu research station in Tanzania. In 1953 it was taken to Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica and recorded as ascension T2722. From there, CATIE distributed it throughout Central America. It was in Panama, in 2005 that it was entered into the Best Of Panama competition by the Peterson family of Boquete, Panama. It won the competition and sold at a record price of $350/pound[6]. That record price has repeatedly been broken since then[7].


Coffee production in Ethiopia dates back dozens of centuries. The Geisha variety of Coffea arabica was identified in the 1930s, in the mountainous Geisha region of southwestern Ethiopia.[8] After seeds were collected in 1936 by a British consul, the coffee was planted in Tanzania and Costa Rica. From there, cultivation spread to Panama in the 1960s, including the famed Boquete region.[8]

Brewing Process[edit]

Premium Geisha coffee beans and brewed Geisha coffee from Panama.[9]

Like with most coffee, grinding is very important regarding the preparation of Geisha coffee. The grind size should be medium or medium-fine for drip coffee, depending on the method, and it requires a normal espresso grind size. The temperature ideally should be around 97 degrees Celsius or 205 Fahrenheit. The brewing process should be done with a 1:15 brew ratio for Chemex, Hario V60, French press, and Aeropress, and a 1:2 brew ratio for espresso.[10]

Growing and Processing[edit]

Geisha coffee cherries.[11]

Geisha coffee begins with the process of picking the ripest cherries. Producers prefer hand-picked cherries as it increases the labor costs. The riper the cherry means the resulting coffee will have a sweeter flavor profile. The cherries then go through quality inspection. Some producers have the technology to put their cherries into a machine that deciphers the quality of the cherries. Some smaller producers have workers sort through the picked cherries by hand. The cherries are processed either by means of wet or dry methods. After those methods are complete, the producers end with a Geisha coffee bean.[12]

Flavor Profile[edit]

The flavor profile of Geisha coffee is one aspect that contributes to its renown. Geisha is known for its sweet flavor and aroma of floral notes, jasmine, chocolate, honey, and even black tea.[13][14] These sweet floral notes, and complex flavor profiles are some of the many characteristics that Geisha coffee shares with most other African coffees.[15] Additionally, this unique flavor is also one of the contributing factors for Geisha’s high price tag and prestige.

Sales & Auction prices[edit]

A bag of Panama Esmeralda Geisha Special coffee.[16]

The Best of Panama Coffee Competition has a long standing reputation for having high dollar coffee at auction, which is where Geisha asserted itself as one of the worlds highest costing coffees. This occurred in 2004 when Hacienda La Esmeralda entered the coffee into the competition where it was found to have a distinctly unusual taste before being purchased at auction for a record price of $21 per pound.[17] 15 years later at the same Best of Panama Competition and Auction, another Geisha sold for $1,029 per pound (unroasted).[18] Earning the nickname “Elida Natural Geisha 1029,” this Geisha was produced on the Lamastus Family Estates.[18] 100 pounds of Geisha coffee sold for $100,000, ranking above the next closest coffee by $80,000. Geisha is perhaps the most valuable coffee in the world.[19]

External Links[edit]

World Coffee Research Varieties Catalog: Geisha


  1. ^ a b Hoffmann, James (2014). The world atlas of coffee : from beans to brewing : coffees explored, explained and enjoyed. Richmond Hill, Ontario. ISBN 978-1-77085-470-3. OCLC 874735327.
  2. ^ Feeney, Patrick Anthony (2016). "Turning Fantasy into Regulatory Reality: A Comparative Approach to Daily Fantasy Sports Through Contracts". SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2757152. ISSN 1556-5068. S2CID 148335695.
  3. ^ "Arabica Coffee Varieties | Geisha (Panama)". Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  4. ^ Pruvot-Woehl, Solène; Krishnan, Sarada; Solano, William; Schilling, Tim; Toniutti, Lucile; Bertrand, Benoit; Montagnon, Christophe (2020-04-01). "Authentication of Coffea arabica Varieties through DNA Fingerprinting and its Significance for the Coffee Sector". Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL. 103 (2): 325–334. doi:10.1093/jaocint/qsz003. ISSN 1944-7922 1060-3271, 1944-7922 Check |issn= value (help). PMID 33241280. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  5. ^ Bramel, Paula; Krishnan, Sarada; Horna, Daniela; Montagnon, Christophe. "GLOBAL CONSERVATION STRATEGY FOR COFFEE GENETIC RESOURCES": 73. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Bramel, Paula; Krishnan, Sarada; Horna, Daniela; Montagnon, Christophe. "GLOBAL CONSERVATION STRATEGY FOR COFFEE GENETIC RESOURCES": 73. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Newton, Tanya (2017-07-25). "World Record Broke as Geisha Coffee Sells for US $601/lb". Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  8. ^ a b Sukiman, Suhaimie (June 1, 2015). Guerra, A (ed.). "What Is Panama Geisha? The Reality of a Fantasy Bean". Perfect Daily Grind.
  9. ^ "Enjoy Espresso at Home with Premium Panamanian Geisha Beans". Espresso at Home. 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  10. ^ 5 Golden Rules when Brewing Panama Geisha Coffee Beans, Hayman, retrieved 2020-11-23CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ "Geisha coffee (or: Gesha) - Specialty coffee beans | Coffee Nomad Diary". BAYAWE - COFFEE EXPERIENCES. 2017-12-03. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  12. ^ Coffee atlas of Ethiopia, Davis, Aaron P., Wilkinson, Tim, Tadesse Woldemariam Gole, Moat, Justin, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 5 April 2018, ISBN 978-1-84246-660-5, OCLC 1012750439, retrieved 2020-10-15CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ Davis, Aaron (2018). Coffee Atlas of Ethiopia. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. p. 53. ISBN 9781842466605.
  14. ^,-Geisha%20coffee%20is&text=When%20tasting%20Geisha%20coffee%20expect,flavors%20of%20jasmine%20and%20bergamot.
  15. ^ "Coffee Origin Characteristics | The Definitive Guide to Coffee from Around the World". North Star Roast. 2017-05-24. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  16. ^ "Esmeralda Special Geisha coffee review". Coffee Detective. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  17. ^ "Awards | Hacienda Esmeralda". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  18. ^ a b "Elida Estate Gesha Earns $1,029 Per Pound in Record-Breaking Best of Panama Auction". Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. 2019-07-18. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  19. ^ "Best of Panama eAuction - Speciality Coffee 2019". Retrieved 2020-09-25.