Geisha coffee beans - what makes them expensive and high quality - and totally worth it

At the source of any great cup of coffee, whether in a cafe or at home, is the quality of the bean. You may have read our top 10 brewing tips for 2023 where we talked about how important the quality of the coffee bean is.

At RiSE coffee box we explore new varietals of coffee every month, as well as different flavours and origins. We are about to have TWO Geisha coffees coming up - and so we thought we would explain what Geisha coffee beans are, why they are more expensive, and why they are considered the best quality coffee beans. 

Geisha coffee, originating from Ethiopia, is considered by many to be the world’s best cup of coffee. Geisha coffee beans can now be found across the globe in Asia, the Americas, and other regions of Africa. They can be outrageously expensive and have a distinct taste. If you’re a coffee lover we would definitely recommend trying Geisha coffee as we believe it’s totally worth it. Read on to find out more! 

What is Geisha coffee?

The very first Geisha coffee was produced in the Gori Gesha forest in Ethiopia and this is where the original name of this coffee came from - the name of the forest that the beans grew in. You may have noticed the name can be spelt slightly differently, Gesha and Geisha, and both spellings are deemed correct. The name “Geisha” was originally given to the coffee bean by British officials situated in Ethiopia in the 1930s. The name is also likened to that of Japanese female entertainers. One of the first farms outside of Ethiopia to cultivate the beans was Hacienda La Esmeralda in Costa Rica. It was first taken there in the 1950s by The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (aka CATIE). It then moved on to Panama where the Panamanian Geisha won a Best of Panama competition selling Gesha for a record price in 2005 of $770 per kilogram. This variety of Geisha beans have a very distinct sweet and floral flavour profile. Thanks to the competition, overnight, this coffee became a sensation around the world. Geisha today can still cost up to $110 per cup!

What is Geisha coffee?

Why are Geisha coffee beans more expensive? 

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) use a 100 point scoring system to evaluate the quality of coffee. The majority of specialty coffee sits around the 84-86 mark, however Geisha scores consistently over 90 - also known as “presidential award coffee”. The SCA sets out strict criteria, which Q graders must follow when cupping coffee. The flavour profile of Geisha coffee is extremely unusual and the cultivation process behind the coffee beans is just as unique - certain altitude and temperatures are required, which often result in low yields and often requires 3x the amount of time to bear fruits. Along with its taste, Geisha coffee drives a higher price point that is well deserved. 

Are Geisha coffee beans worth the price?

The price someone is prepared to pay for coffee is very individual and based on the individual’s taste, passion and desire for drinking unusual, rare and difficult to produce coffee. For most of us, paying £600 a kilogram is not a coffee that we could afford to drink every day, but if you want something unique to try and enjoy the Geisha coffee would be great for you. We mentioned we have two Geishas coming up in your RiSE coffee boxes - so how does this work? Don’t worry, we won’t be upping your £22 a month to £220! We are lucky enough to be working with two roasters who have done wonders to mix it into a blend to keep the price affordable. RiSE coffee box has two Geisha coffees coming up. One is an ethiopian Geisha bean and another includes a Geisha bean as part of three varieties of beans- so keep your eyes peeled. 

Are Geisha coffee beans worth the price?

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What is the best Geisha coffee?

Q graders and coffee aficionados who evaluate this high quality coffee are like the sommeliers of the wine world. They meticulously pick out any defects, search for the aromas and textures and pick out any flavours - Geisha coffee is known for being very floral and Jasmine and Lavender are two common profiles that arise, with a very light acidity. Drunk as a single origin, it is much lighter, almost like tea, very delicate. 

Panamanian Geisha coffees remain the rarest, most expensive coffee in the world and is now considered a global coffee success. A cup of Geisha in Japan could set you back $120 or even $200 in Dubai. 

Remember, the importance of coffee is trying a variety of flavours, origins and varietals to really hone in on what you like. You often find there are things you enjoy that may surprise you. Getting to know different types of coffee through RiSE coffee box can also help you when you are out in a cafe selecting a coffee.  If you’d like to learn more about tasting and selecting coffee at home - check out our coffee cupping blog here.

Because of its price, many coffee drinkers who are keen to try Geisha Coffee or want to drink it more regularly, search for “cheap panama geisha coffee” or “cheap geisha coffee” on Google. Avoid this if you can, or try to find a roaster like Colonna or Caravan coffee roasters, who know how to create a great Geisha blend. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle stop tour through the world of Geisha/Gesha coffees! And can’t wait for you to try an extra special Ethiopian Geisha in the box very soon!



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