Why is Geisha coffee so expensive?

Tasting specialty coffees and coffees from different parts of the world is an art

Coffee tasters are specially trained to taste the best coffees in the world and give their opinions on them. There are coffees that are accessible to many people, and there are also some that are very exclusive. This is the case of Geisha coffee from Panama, which is the most expensive coffee in the world. In this article you will learn what characterizes this coffee and what makes it so unique.

What is Geisha coffee?

Geisha coffee, also known as Gesha, is a variety of coffee that has become very popular in recent years. This variety belongs to the Arabica coffee species. It owes its popularity to the fact that in 2004, a farm in Panama called "La Hacienda Esmeralda" took part in the "Best Of Panama" coffee competition, presenting their original Geisha coffee, which surprised the jury and won first place. In this competition, the best coffees are auctioned at very high prices. This is how this coffee gained recognition and exclusivity when, in 2004, 400 grams of this green coffee were sold for over 20 US dollars. Currently, in barista competitions, Geisha coffee is one of the most widely used coffees due to its great quality and taste.

In the past, no one relied on Geisha coffee, because although the plant was strong and resistant to various pests, it was not very efficient. Moreover, the plant's branches grew vertically, not horizontally. However, after several trials and under specific growing conditions, it turned out that this tree produces the highest quality coffee. The geisha tree can be recognized by the fact that it grows very tall and its leaves are very elongated, green or brown. Coffee will have better taste and organoleptic properties if the tree is grown in mountainous areas located higher, i.e. above 1,600 m above sea level. The best climate for growing Geisha coffee is when there is constant rainfall. Thanks to this, Geisha coffee matures slower and obtains the best flavor properties and sweetness.

Geisha coffee flavor notes

One of the most important characteristics of geisha coffee is its unique taste. A cup of Geisha coffee is very aromatic and floral. It has the scent of jasmine, peach and orchid. Some Geisha coffees may have a slight vanilla, marshmallow and chocolate flavor. Geisha coffee has low acidity. Due to all its floral notes, it has been compared to some teas and that is why this coffee is very popular, especially in Asia.

Why is Geisha coffee so expensive?

Geisha coffee has different prices in the market. 400 grams of Geisha coffee has fetched up to $1,000. This does not mean that all brands have this price, but it is considered the most expensive coffee in the world. During an auction in 2019, Elida Estate sold 454 grams of Geisha coffee to a Japanese customer for USD 1,029.

A cup of geisha coffee can cost up to $125 in Dubai and $75 in the United States. However, if you have the opportunity to try it in Panama, you may be able to buy a cup for $9-12. One of the main reasons why this coffee is so expensive is because it is so carefully grown and, of course, its taste is unique. You can enjoy a multitude of flavors in each sip, which depend on how it is grown, such as altitude, humidity and the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.

Where does Geisha coffee come from?

Although many people associate the origin of this coffee with Panama, its origins date back to the 1930s, when it was created in Gesha, a village in southeastern Ethiopia. This coffee was discovered by British explorers at the time. Years later, in 1953, the Geisha variety was shipped to Central America and then propagated throughout Panama. Geisha coffee is grown throughout Central America, but none of them compares in quality and taste to that grown in Panama. For this reason, its production in other countries is not so great. It is widely cultivated in the Chiriqui province, which borders Costa Rica. This province is home to the Baru Volcano, which is the highest volcano in all of Central America and is a mountainous area with an altitude of 3,475 m above sea level. According to one study, Geisha coffee has gained great popularity in Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and the United States.


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