Everything you need to know about this incredibly rare award-winning coffee. [Updated 8/21]
When talking about the most expensive and best coffee in the world, you might hear of Civet Coffee or Ethiopian Yirgecheffe. But within this elite company of extraordinary coffees, few come even close to the rarity and consequently, the price of Geisha Coffee. In fact, back in July of 2019, a single pound of Geisha Coffee sold for $1,029. So what makes this coffee so good that people out there are willing to pay over a thousand dollars to drink it? In this article, we'll find out and also cover the best Geisha coffee of 2021.
Don't feel like reading? Check out our top 3 picks below. For our full list of top Geisha coffee, please continue reading the full article.
What is Geisha Coffee
Geisha Coffee (also known as Gesha Coffee) is an incredibly rare variety of coffee bean discovered in the 1930's. It has origins in a town called appropriately called Gesha which is located in the birth place of coffee: Ethiopia. While this coffee is currently grown in a number of areas such as Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Tanzania, and Colombia, it is Panama is often credited with catapulting this exotic coffee to a world wide stage.
You might think only coffee snobs would even consider paying such prices for this coffee. But the truth is, this particular type of coffee is deemed “worth the price” by many average coffee drinkers.
Why is Geisha or Gesha Coffee So Expensive
The high price of Geisha coffee is a product of the bean's rarity and superiority. Adding to this is the fact that the production costs associated with growing Geisha coffee are also high. Geisha coffee plants are delicate and require very specific climates to grow fruitfully. They are also particularly susceptible to certain coffee diseases. From the perspective of coffee farmers, this specific varietal is immeasurably finicky.
Lastly, this plant has exceptionally low yield which is why it's so rare and expensive. Given how rare this coffee is, it's not a surprise that Geisha coffee cherries are always hand-picked to manually ensure the quality of and proper ripeness each bean. As is the case with any fruit, the beans are carefully selected for their size, texture, color, and aroma.
What Does the Best Geisha Coffee Taste Like?
As far as taste goes, Geisha is renowned for its uniquely pungent floral flavor tapered by a signature refined sweetness and clean taste. Depending on the specific variety you're drinking, you may taste a very wide range of floral and fruity flavors. This includes papaya, berry, peach, pineapple, citrus, mango, berry, and jasmine to name but a few. If you have a hard time imagining exactly what that would taste like, you're not alone as Geisha delivers a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
The flavor of the best geisha coffee will of course depend on its origins. However, most Geisha coffees will share the following characteristics when it comes to taste.
- Mild acidity
- Balanced sweetness
- Refined floral and fruity flavors (jasmine, peach, mango, berry, citrus)
- Complex flavor notes
What’s the Difference Between Geisha and Gesha Coffee?
As mentioned earlier in this article, Gesha is the actual name of the southwest Ethiopian town in which the Geisha coffee variety was discovered. The term Geisha can be confusing as it also refers to Japanese Geishas, which are traditional female hostesses in Japan. This being the case, you'll often see Geisha coffee from Ethiopia spelled as “Gesha” to denote where the beans came from.
Where to Buy Geisha Coffee
Due to its incredible rarity, Geisha Coffee will not be found in most cafes. There are exceptions but those are few and far between. You can sometimes find Geisha coffee at ultra-fine dining establishments. If you're looking to the buy the best geisha coffee, you're best bet is to buy direct from the coffee brand. This being the case, we have curated the following list to help you make a more informed decision when shopping quality Geisha coffee.
Best Geisha Coffee of 2021
Tasting Notes: Intense but incredibly balanced sweetness. Refined fruity flavor with captivating floral notes
Bean & Bean recently released their Panama Janson Geisha and let's just say it's a remarkable bean that's worthy of consideration by all coffee connoisseurs. It's intense yet natural sweetness is impressively balanced leaving you coming back for more. With delicious notes of apple, pear, black tea, and sugar this special Panama Geisha makes for a captivating coffee experience. We would recommend this coffee for anyone who appreciates their coffee on the sweeter side. This coffee has a delicate body allowing you to more easily savor these deliciously unique tasting notes.
Tasting Notes: Exceptionally clean, complex floral notes, superbly balanced
Starting off our list of the best geisha coffee of 2020 is a relative newcomer to the market. Spirit Animal Coffee offers a highly refined brew that delivers strong aromatics, a clean balanced flavor with complex floral notes, and ultimately an authentic Geisha coffee experience. Sourced from micro-lots farms in Santander, Colombia, this coffee is incredibly rare in its own right. Spirit Animal's brew won our coveted BQC Editor's Choice award with this exceptional representation of what authentic Geisha coffee should taste like.
Spirit Animal Geisha Coffee is light / medium roasted, naturally processed, and grown at an altitude of 1,900 meters. With a cupping score of 89, we felt like it was well-earned.
Tasting Notes: Cocoa, Molasses, and refined Pipe Tobacco
Volcanica Coffee as a brand needs no introduction when it comes to the world of the best exotic coffee. They produce a deliciously vibrant Geisha coffee sourced from Costa Rica. This particular varietymakes our list of best Geisha coffee for its delicate and soft profile with aromatics that are as complex as they are subtle.
It's taste is just as complex with hints of cocoa, molasses, and pipe tobacco. With gentle acidity, a medium body, and silky texture, this medium-roasted Costa Rican Geisha offers a totally different experience than its Colombian counterpart.
Tasting Notes: Melon, jasmine, caramel
This exquisite honey-processed Geisha coffee from Guatemala yields a very creamy coffee filled with refined flora notes of jasmine and sweet melon. It's tapered off with a delicious caramel aftertaste that tops off a quintessential Geisha coffee experience. Cultivated at the renowned Santa Felisa farm established well over 100 years ago, this prized bean delivers a coffee experience even the most discerning coffee lovers will savor and appreciate. This family-owned farm is currently being run by fourth generation siblings under the “guidance of the visionary agronomist, ecologist & Q-Grader Anabella Meneses”.
Tasting Notes: exotic mango, mandarin flavor, rich dark roasted flavor
No list of the best Geisha coffee would complete without Panama Geisha being represented. Few brands have earned such a stellar reputation when it comes to ultra-premium Panama Geisha coffee as Hayman Coffee. Recognized for their 100% authentic Panama Geisha coffee beans, Hayman's Geisha offers a brilliant jasmine aroma coupled with exotic mango and mandarin flavor notes. Although this coffee is dark roasted, it's done in such a way that the natural flavors of the coffee bean still express themselves very fully.
As an added bonus, the elegant packaging of this coffee is a true reflection of the quality of the product. I'm usually not one to give much weight to presentation when it comes to coffee, but in this case it's certainly worth mentioning.
Hayman is also a member of the Specialty Coffee Association, widely considered to be the ultimate authority on coffee standards and excellence.
Tasting Notes: Melon, jasmine, caramel
Bean and Bean Coffee Company makes this list of top Gesha coffees once again with another one of their impressive offerings. What makes this particular Geisha so special is that these purple coffee cherries are “hand-picked from the rest to maximize sweetness”.
Sourced from the renowned and family-owned Santa Felisa farm established in 1904, this coffee originates from a place of deep history and more importantly, impeccable standards. These prized beans are honey processed to in order to fully allow the coffee beans to express their natural flavor. The final result is a delightfully cream coffee with refined subtle notes of jasmine, sweet melon, with a caramel finish.
By reading this guide, hopefully you've become more familiar with impressive and highly popular varietal of coffee. It's not regular coffee so it's not typically purchased by the average coffee lover. Geisha is most appreciated by those who want the coffee experience as opposed to just getting a quick burst of caffeinated energy.
This completes our exclusive list of the top Geisha coffees for 2021. We'll be keeping this list updated as time passes. In the meantime if you have any recommendations not found on this list, we'd love to hear from you in the comments.