What Is Geisha Coffee? And Why Is Geisha Coffee So Expensive?

Have you ever wondered why geisha coffee is so expensive? And, more importantly, is it actually worth it?

In recent years, geisha coffee has become increasingly sought after among coffee drinkers.

Geisha beans are kind of like liquid gold for coffee lovers – and come with a very high price tag to match.

But don’t let that put you off.

The unique flavours of geisha coffee are something that every coffee lover should try at least once in their life.

But what is geisha coffee?

And why is geisha coffee so expensive?

Most importantly, perhaps, is geisha coffee worth it?

We’ll take a look at all of the above in this article, and also share some tips for enjoying geisha coffee at home or at your local coffee roasters.

the studio coffee roasters specialty coffee

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What is Geisha coffee?

Simply put, geisha coffee – sometimes referred to as gesha or Panana geisha coffee – is a varietal of coffee beans.

Just as wine comes from different grapes, such as Pinot Noir or Merlot, coffee beans also come from different types of cherries.

Geisha is one of the different coffee varietals and is a type of arabica coffee.

Geisha coffee is known for its unique flavours, exclusivity and high price tag to match.

Geisha beans generally produce a very sweet cup of coffee with floral notes of jasmine, rose or bergamot, and fresh fruity flavours such as lemon, cherry and raspberry.

It’s generally best suited to filter brew methods (such as AeroPress or French Press) but can also make for a unique and distinctive espresso.

Although we’d avoid using a geisha bean for milk-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos because the delicate flavours would be lost, we’ve found our Colombia geisha coffee makes an incredible cold brew when you’re craving an iced coffee!

Even though it’s one of the most expensive coffee varietals around, it’s a cup of coffee that flies off the shelves in specialty coffee shops (including ours!).

Originating in Ethiopia but more commonly associated with Panama, you may be surprised to learn that geisha coffee has no relation to Japan (or the rest of Asia).

Geisha or Gesha?

Although it might make you think of Kyoto’s gion district, the name “geisha” actually comes from a different country (and another continent!) altogether.

That country is Ethiopia.

That’s right! The geisha coffee plant finds its origins in the birthplace of coffee, one of the best coffee countries in the world and the country that produces some of the best African coffee beans.

More specifically, the name comes from the Gori Gesha forest in Ethiopia, which was then shortened to just “gesha”.

This is why it’s sometimes written as gesha rather than geisha.

What is Panama geisha coffee?

Geisha coffee is also sometimes referred to as Panama geisha coffee.

But, if it originates from Ethiopia, why would it have Panama in the name?

Although geisha coffee plants were first introduced in Ethiopia in the 1930s, they were taken to Central America in the 1960s.

At first, the geisha coffee beans were brought to Costa Rica to be studied by the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center.

However, they were also circulated around other coffee farms in the region, including Panama.

The coffee farmers didn’t receive the geisha coffee with much enthusiasm at first, but things quickly changed in 2004.

A geisha coffee from Hacienda La Esmeralda caught the attention of judges at the Best of Panama coffee auction for its aromatic flavour profile.

It was unlike any coffee to have come out of Central America before.

Since then, the Panama geisha has become one of the most sought-after coffees in the world and proudly bears the name of the country that cultivated it to such perfection.

Because of this, Panama geisha coffee beans are some of the most expensive in the world.

Since its success in the 2004 Panama competition, Panama has become a popular spot for coffee tourism and geisha coffee has spread more widely across Latin America.

Colombia Geisha Coffee Beans

Why is geisha coffee so expensive?

Once you have your first taste of geisha coffee, you should understand the hype.

Geisha beans are highly sought after in the specialty coffee world for good reason.

The limited supplies combined with the intensive farming process required to grow and harvest geisha coffee cherries are the main drivers of the varietal’s high price tag.

It’s also why geisha coffee is considered one of the most exclusive coffees.

But nothing else compares to geisha when it comes to taste either. Thanks to their unique and complex flavour profiles, geisha plants also produce some of the best coffee beans and therefore the best coffee in the world.

It will likely come as no surprise that the geisha variety – and Panamanian geisha coffee in particular – frequently shows up at the World Barista Championship.

This is one coffee you would only want to enjoy as a single origin. Although blending would help make a geisha coffee more affordable, the delicate and complex flavours make it unadvisable to do so.

So… Is geisha coffee worth it?

Perhaps you’re yet to try a geisha coffee for yourself, but you’re curious… and rightly so.

The main thing that puts off would-be geisha coffee drinkers is, unsurprisingly, its high price tag.

If your main goal is guzzling as much caffeine as possible, we can confidently say that geisha coffee definitely won’t be worth it.

That’s because the caffeine content of geisha coffee beans is around 30% less than general Arabica coffee beans.

However, if you’re looking for an experience and a flavour journey from your coffee, the small investment will be well worth it.

While the best geisha coffee can set you back a small fortune, you don’t need to blow your life savings to try this unique coffee variety for yourself.

Coffee roasters that are lucky enough to offer a geisha will usually charge around 9-12 Euros for a V60 pour over.

Sure, that’s a relatively expensive cup of coffee, but it’s still accessible to most coffee drinkers (and worth it for the experience!).

Alternatively, you can pick up a bag of geisha coffee beans for under 30 Euros and enjoy multiple cups at home.

Colombian Geisha beans

Curious about geisha coffee? Why not pick up a bag of our La Esperanza Colombia geisha coffee beans and try it for yourself at home?

It was grown on a multi-generational farm that employs sustainable farming practices and has delicate notes of Turkish Delight, cherry, cacao, rosehip and a hint of citrus.

1 thought on “What Is Geisha Coffee? And Why Is Geisha Coffee So Expensive?”

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