GESHA, QUEEN OF COMPLEXITY
Beware The Power Of Gesha Coffee Beans:
Gesha specialty coffee originated in Ethiopia & was brought to Central America via Costa Rica & Panama, the latter being where it gained international acclaim. In the coffee world, Gesha is considered to be the queen of coffee varieties with an amazingly complex & intense flavour profile.
The plant itself is tall with long Christmas tree shaped branches, and the berries and coffee beans are often long and canoe shaped. In order to thrive and produce competition quality coffee the plant must be fertilized often, year-round.
Growing best in extremely high elevations, in the cup it displays intense florals, saturated sweetness & complex flavours. So much so, it’s sent us into fever frenzies & put us under spells!
OUR HISTORY WITH LA ESMERALDA, PANAMA:
Over the years we’ve featured some cracking Geshas from the Peterson’s Esmeralda farm in Boquete, Panama, who have been producing award-winning Geshas since 2004, sold at auction every year. In more recent times, these have been Natural as well as Washed.
We’ve even featured a Geisha cascara, an idea conceived over a few wines between Wendy & Rachel Peterson, their first ever Geisha cascara, made from their 2016 auction-winning natural coffees. Because of the uniform ripeness & high quality of these cherries, it tasted incredible. We went on to make a Geisha Flight for Good Food Month comprised of the coffee, cascara and an almond financier cake with house-made vanilla mascarpone, a salad of nectarine, almond & candied lime zest & a cascara syrup.
Rachel (left) with Wendy. (Probably on their way to the Opera Bar.)
QUALITY GESHA FROM OTHER ORIGINS:
We’ve loved seeing the rise of some quality Gesha in several other countries over the years too, including Peru and Colombia, which both have the swooning altitudes that the Gesha plant enjoys. Across continents, in the right circumstances the Gesha variety can be counted on to deliver it’s classic jasmine aroma and tangerine flavour. That unique and desirable flavor that continues to command record breaking prices year after year has encouraged some farmers with favourable conditions to plant more and more Gesha, with varying levels of success.
FROM OUR ROASTER STU:
“Because of the limited amount of coffee we have, it can be a bit tricky for the first roast with no evaluation but this is where Cropster (a roaster profiling software) really proves it’s worth. For each coffee I dive into the database to look at to look at relevant roasts from the last year or so – Colombia La Miel COE, Azahar Small Lots, Rancho Grande Gesha etc to work out a roast approach that’s going to be close to the mark. Moisture & water activity readings assist with this too. I always find roasting high quality Geshas a bit of a tightrope – tendency to want to roast really light to accentuate the florals & prettiness but I think the best roasts develop a bit more stone fruit, sugar & sweetness.”
FROM OUR TRAINER TOBY:
“Our El Paraíso Gesha feature was quite similar to brewing other high quality Gesha and delicate brews, we were aiming for a high extraction to really bring out the florals and panela sugar taste notes you want with this type of coffee.
We went with a standard recipe, 15g coffee – 250g water / 2:30 mins and 60g/L batch ratio. This was then updated after the short evaluation process (we didn’t want to use up all the coffee internally!). We don’t publish an espresso recipe for this coffee as it will be best represented as filter coffee.
Q: What does Gesha coffee variety taste like?
A: Jasmine & tangerine, heaven & hypnosis.
Q: What does the word Gesha mean? Why do you sometimes see it written as ‘Geisha’?
A: It’s possible the variety was selected in the Gesha area of Ethiopia. The ‘i’ crept in to create a sonic similarity to Gesha’s authentic pronunciation. Seems now we all know how to say it, honouring the original spelling is the go!
Q: Why is the Gesha coffee variety so expensive?
A: It’s often sold at auction, where buyers battle for their favourite lots, driving the price up. Plus, it’s general cup profile. (Jasmine & tangerine, heaven & hypnosis.)
Our current Gesha Coffee available to buy has jasmine florals, bergamot citrus, peach, raspberry & lingering sweetness.
Q: How much does Gesha cost?
A: It depends on the provenance of the lot, but consumers have proven to be willing to splurge on the unique and one-of-a-kind flavour experience.
See our current Gesha coffee in the house at our Single Origins here.
Interested in coffee varieties? See our coffee varieties glossary to learn more.