geisha coffee

Why on earth, you might ask, some kind of coffee worth that much? After all, it’s just a regular coffee, it can’t be too different from your regular cup of coffee, right?


Just like when it rocked the whole coffee industry’s world in the 2004 Best of Panama auction, Geisha coffee is now here to change your views on coffee’s flavor and characteristics.

With its well-earned reputation as one of the most expensive coffees in the globe and its breathtaking taste that is unlike any other coffee you’ve drunk, Geisha coffee offers you a much greater experience than your old-regular coffee.

In this article, we’ll try to find answers to the most basic questions about it; what is it, why is it so expensive and is it worth the money?

geisha coffee
“Awesome rose and strawberry milkshake Ethiopian Geisha piccolo at Mokoko Coffee, Bath Southgate” by Bex.Walton is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

What Is Geisha Coffee

Geisha, or gesha coffee, is one of the most expensive and unique coffees in the world. Due to high demand and low supply, coffee shops and cafes have to bid on it in auctions in order to get some. Aside from its high price, geisha coffee is also famous for its unique flavor and characteristics.

Where Does Geisha Coffee Grow At?

Its history begins in the big and mysterious Gori Gesha forest of Ethiopia. As you’ve probably guessed, its name comes from the name of the forest where it originated in the first place. It’s also worth mentioning that there are some controversies going on regarding its name, but more on that later.

Geisha coffee’s journey had continued when it was brought to the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica in the 1950s. Not long after its arrival to Costa Rica, geisha coffee beans found their way to the country where it’s mostly produced nowadays, Panama. It’s mostly grown in a very specific region called the Volcan Boru mountain, which is Panama’s highest.

The farm that had gotten the seeds was Hacienda la Esmeralda, one of Panama’s main coffee producers.

The exact same farm presented these unique Geisha beans at the 2004 Best of Panama auction and the quality of these beans simply took the audience’s breath away. Since then, it has become one of the most famous and exclusive coffees in the world.

Before we explore what makes geisha coffee unique, let’s solve the name problem.

The Name: Geisha or Gesha?

“Lovely Colombian Geisha pourover coffee at Haven” by Bex.Walton is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Do you know about Japanese geisha? To put it simply, geisha are entertainers who perform dance, arts, music and attend guests during special occasions.

As a result of the exact same name usage for both the coffee and Japanese entertainers, there is some –natural- confusion. In fact, several coffee shops have used Japanese symbols and imagery with geisha coffee although they are completely unrelated.

Even though both “Geisha” and “Gesha” are used commonly, locals in Panama call the coffee “gesha”. In addition, since its name comes from the forest where it originated at –Gori Gesha-, using Gesha as the name of it would be more accurate.

As the name “Geisha” is more popular in the world than the other, we mainly used “geisha” in this article. Yet, both geisha and gesha can be used to describe this particular coffee. After all, it doesn’t really matter when you choose one over another; we all understand what you’re talking about.

What Does Geisha Coffee Taste Like?

Of all the words you could use to describe geisha coffee’s taste, the one that really seems to stick is “breathtaking”.

It has a smooth and soft texture with an astonishing sweetness. The fruity and flowery flavors of it also give geisha its uniqueness. It is also worth mentioning that geisha coffee tends to have a wide range of flavor notes such as papaya, jasmine, citrus, mango, bergamot, or other exotic fruits. Depending on the origin, you might encounter these flavors when you drink a proper geisha coffee. That applies to its long-lasting aftertaste too; you can feel the taste of papaya, lime, or even pineapple long after you have drunk it!

geisha coffee
“Awesome Guatemalan Geisha coffee and brunch at Reuben Hills, Sydney” by Bex.Walton is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Some experts simply described it as unbelievable and one of the greatest coffee’s that has ever been made. In fact, geisha coffee also got the highest score on the SCA system with a record-breaking 94 points out of 100. For those of you who haven’t heard about SCA, it’s the short form of the Specialty Coffee Association and specializes in everything about coffee. Alongside this, it also has a ranking system for flavors of specific coffees. To give you an example, ranking first in this list is similar to being chosen MVP in the NBA; it’s that prestigious.

To sum up, geisha coffee is one of the highest quality coffees out there in the coffee industry with its fruity and almost tea-like flavor and smooth texture.

Why Is Geisha Coffee So Expensive?

You’ve probably heard of geisha because of its high price tag; which, in my opinion, is unfair to its unique flavors and characteristics. To give you an example of how expensive it is, geisha coffee is priced at $600 per pound at the well-known Hacienda la Esmeralda. In addition, getting just one cup of it in New York will cost you about $20. But have you ever wondered why it is so expensive?

The answer lies in its growing and cultivation process. The coffee plant is so demanding that it requires highly specific environmental conditions to grow. When I said highly specific conditions, I was actually dead serious.

As the optimum conditions for growing only exist there, geisha beans are mainly grown in Panama’s highest and most famous mountain, Volcan Baru. Growing it is a high demanding job because, after the growing process, locals hand-pick all the beans one by one and then dry it until they reach the optimum humidity.

Another reason for its high price is the high demand and low supply of it. Every single year, a limited amount of geisha coffee is grown and the supply is far from compensating for
the high demand. As I’ve mentioned earlier, even coffee shops can’t get whatever the amount they want. In order to get some, they need to bid for it in auctions.

Let’s wrap up. High demand and low supply for geisha coffee and it’s difficult growing process led to a very expensive price tag and fierce battle between coffee shops in order to get some. Truly worth the competition considering its breathtaking taste.


With its extraordinary flavor that’s unlike any other coffee I’ve tasted, geisha coffee will definitely worth your money. Additionally, as its flavors vary depending on beans’ origin, you’ll get a different but astonishing flavored cup of coffee every time you order one.

Although it may not be economically sustainable to drink it every day like your regular coffee, you might want to try it once in a while in order to enrich your day and coffee culture. My suggestion to you is to go to your local coffee shop and see if there is any geisha coffee available. If there is, then enjoy the world’s best coffee.

Geisha Coffee: Friend or Foe?

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