Meet Geisha. Geisha from Panama

We bring you the world’s most expensive coffees, not because of their price, but because they are really quality standards. Like Geisha, for example. And we are about to present to you several outstanding Geishas from our catalog! 

Everyone who is familiar with DABOV Specialty Coffee’s philosophy knows that we bring to you some of the world’s rarest coffees, the price of which often exceeds many times the one that unpretentious coffee lovers are accustomed to pay. When it comes to very expensive coffee, however, what makes us choose them is not their price but their quality. Speaking about Geisha, the high price corresponds to the exceptional quality of the coffee, and when the said Geisha has passed the Best of Panama test, we can be sure that the best of the best coffee is bubbling in our glass.

Where was Geisha born?

Geisha is one of the most famous and sought Arabica varieties. Despite its misleading name, Geisha (or more correctly Gesha) was found in the mountain regions of Abyssinia in southwestern Ethiopia in 1931. It was transported to Kenya and Tanzania in the 1930s, and in the 1950s to Costa Rica. It was from there that the coffee tree reached Panama in the 1990s, thanks to Don Pachi, who used to cultivate it in Costa Rica.

When Geisha became popular?

In 1998, the American Daniel Peterson, who settled on his father’s farm La Esmeralda in Boquete, Panama, discovered Geisha’s exceptional qualities. According to the legend, he prepared coffee from the grains of the said coffee tree and when he tried it, he exclaimed, “I met the Lord!” Since then, the news about the divine coffee from Panama has spread. For several consecutive years, La Esmeralda’s coffee has won all possible specialty coffee prizes in Panama – Best of Panama (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015) and also Coffee of the Year, Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality, and others almost every year since 2004.

What is typical of Geisha’s taste?

It is not known exactly how this tree came to La Esmeralda farm, but the fact is that it was the Peterson family who managed to get the most out of the coffee first. To reach the desired taste profile, sweetness, notes of berries, mandarins, papaya, honey, jasmine, and bergamot aftertaste, it is necessary to grow the coffee tree at high altitude with a certain terroir. The acidity of the coffee is delicate, the body is light, the mouthfeel is creamy.

Is Geisha easy to grow?

Many farmers are directing their efforts to grow geisha, although climatic conditions and terroir on their farms may not bring the desired flavor profile. Since 2004, they have been working hard to get more and more quality crops in Panama. One of the important Geisha qualities is that the variety is resistant to devastating leaf rust. Panama’s unique terroir provides the perfect growing conditions for Geisha. Microclimates, caused by many different terrains (hills, mountains, rivers, gorges, etc.), combined with high elevations, nutrient-rich volcanic soils, mist-forming winds, and cool nights, contribute to improving the complexity of coffee. However, Geisha is not easy to grow. The plants are low yield and maintenance intensive. The Geisha trees have shorter root systems than normal. If grown below 1600m, the plants are susceptible to death and fungal attack. However, if they grow over 2100m, the leaves and cherries are exposed to the sun and burn easily. Geisha coffee trees take longer than the average coffee tree to start giving fruit – they can make the farmer wait for up to 8 years, unlike the usual 4-5 years.

Do you know that…

In 2007, 1 pound of coffee from the Peterson’s La Esmeralda was sold at an auction for a record $130. And this is not the only record of the Geisha variety. The next one is $169 per pound – and for a coffee that hasn’t been harvested yet! The amount has been paid in advance for the autumn 2010 harvest. This is a very big amount, given that the coffee had not been harvested, and the prices for transport, roasting, packaging, salaries, the percentages of the roastery, buyers, and the coffee shop where you would have the chance to try it had not been added. In 2017, La Esmeralda broke another record, selling their coffee for $601 per pound.