What is Geisha Coffee? A Complete Breakdown

Geisha coffee is a luxury many coffee lovers have heard of but have no clear concept of what it really is. Geisha coffee is one of the most expensive coffees ever. Even the coffee shops …

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Geisha coffee is a luxury many coffee lovers have heard of but have no clear concept of what it really is. Geisha coffee is one of the most expensive coffees ever. Even the coffee shops have to bid on the luxurious concoction just for the rights to sell it.

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Even when you feel like that, you must be wondering what makes it so unique, and what’s with the name?

Fear not; all your questions are getting answered today. But first, let’s clear up the confusion about the naming.

Is It Geisha Or Gesha?

The naming of this fine coffee created more confusion than intended. Nevertheless, it started from the coffee shop owners and for valid reasons.

The word “Geisha” has been associated with Japanese entertainer culture for as far as we all can remember. So I bet when you read the article’s title, that’s the same image that popped up in your mind.

This confusion spread so far that many coffee shops started selling the coffee using Japanese imagery and aesthetics since they thought that was what people expected because of the name.

When the coffee hit the scene, locals of the Gesha village used to refer to this coffee as “Gesha.” You might think this is only a one-letter difference, but considering the subject matter, it means a lot.

Since the word “Geisha” and “Gesha” mean two different things entirely, coffee enthusiasts have been pushing the public to address the coffee with the same name the locals of Panama have given it.

So calling it Gesha coffee is more accurate, but the popularity of the coffee by the wrong name makes people still call it “Geisha coffee.”

Origin Of Geisha Coffee

Geisha coffee mainly originated from Ethiopia, but the coffee plants are grown in Panama. Therefore, though the coffee origin can be marked as Ethiopia, the coffee cherry growing procedure became perfect when brought to Panama.

Geisha coffee is grown in a particular area of Panama. Volcan Baru is the tallest mountain in all of Panama, and that’s where this exquisite coffee comes from.

Geisha coffee was brought from Ethiopia to Costa Rica in the 1950s so that the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center could study it thoroughly. After a short period, the coffee tree found its way to Panama as the next best thing.

Why Is Geisha Coffee So Special?

The main attraction of this coffee is the tree itself. We all know Ethiopia as the birthplace of fine coffee. However, since the tree came from Ethiopia, it still contains the unique characteristics of its Ethiopian origin.

Another reason is the entire process Geisha coffee goes through to become drinkable. The drying and roasting process for Geisha coffee beans is unique to this coffee only.

Local coffee farmers hand-picked each coffee bean from the Volcan Baru mountains. The beans are then dried for 8 days or until the beans reach ideal humidity. Then, the beans are ready to be sold as green beans at the ideal humidity.

The roasting method brings these oval-shaped green beans to perfection, and the final cup of coffee has already blown everyone’s minds.

Best Roast For Geisha Coffee

A light roast allows you to bring out and maintain all the delicate flavors of these specialty coffee beans. Geisha beans get roasted till the first crack appears. The temperature for this roast is around 415-435 F.

Flavor Profile

The credit of the popularity of Geisha coffee goes entirely to its unique taste. Even when you consider the opinions from coffee experts, you’ll find that the taste is second to none.

Geisha coffee has a tea-like yet fruity flavor. The body is smooth and has a silky texture. The fruity notes feel similar to fruits like guava, citrus, pineapple, berries, and mango. With different roast and other elements, the coffee can also contain notes of Earl Grey, honey, and honeysuckle, with floral notes.

The aroma is described as “unbelievable” by many coffee connoisseurs. Some have also stated that the aroma of Geisha coffee can be compared to a perfume with additional hints of bergamot, jasmine, and rose.

The Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) has a flavor scale for coffees to score and rank them, the highest score being 100. Geisha coffee scored a fantastic score of 94.1 on the SCA system. That should tell you enough about how good it is.

Having fun Nomies? Check out our piece on what plant coffee comes from.


If you get yourself a cup of this fine cup of coffee from a local coffee shop in Panama, it’ll only cost you $9. However, the same coffee can cost you $18 in a cafe in New York. A single pound of Geisha coffee has sold as high as $800 in the past, hiking the cost of a single cup up to $75-$110.

Though the price of this coffee is a unique and popular characteristic, you might be wondering about the reason behind this ridiculous price.

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The price mainly comes from the production process itself. Geisha coffee requires particular environmental conditions to ensure maximum production.

Then comes the amount of total production of this specialty coffee. Sadly, coffee production was affected heavily after the effects of pests and coffee leaf rust in 2013. As a result, in 2015, the production of Panama coffee was reported as low as 402 tonnes.

When the production is this low, and many people want to get their hands on this fine coffee by bidding for the highest price, you can see how easily the price tag can get heavier by the second due to limited supply.

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You can also find Cheap Gesha/Geisha Coffee with a reasonable price just from a simple Google search, but the quality of the coffee is questionable at best. It could just be regular beans in different packaging to secure some extra cash for all I know.

Highest Price For Panama Geisha Coffee

The honor of selling a pound of Geisha coffee at the highest price goes to the Lamastus Family Estates back on July 16, 2019. According to the SCA Foundation, the Elida Geisha Green Tip coffee scored 95.25 out of 100 points after evaluation.

This pound of coffee was sold at the BoP annual coffee auction, which secured the place of international stardom for Panama Geisha coffee all over the world. Moreover, it showed the coffee industry how exceptional Lamastus Family Coffee Estate was.

In the past, a single pound of Geisha coffee was sold for #803 per pound in 2018 and $661 per pound in 2017. But it took till 2019 for the price figure to reach four digits.

The first record of auctioned Geisha coffee in the coffee scene goes back to 2004, a pound of Washed Geisha coffee from Hacienda La Esmeralda. It was sold at $21 per pound, whereas the most expensive coffee sold for $4.80 per pound.

All the unique properties, coffee taste, and aroma set this coffee mile apart from other types of coffee beans and roasts, allowing it on the throne of the most exquisite coffee.

Hey, check out our piece on what is mocha coffee.

Is It Really Worth That Much?

The answer is a resounding yes.

There is no other way to say that Geisha coffee is simply unbeatable when it comes to flavor and aroma. The flavor alone blew the coffee experts away with a single sip of a cup and made avid coffee drinkers rush to the nearest coffee shops for a taste of this exquisite coffee.

The answer can vary depending on who you ask. However, if you ask passionate coffee-drinkers who drink this as everyday coffee, you’ll get recommended to try out Geisha coffee without a second thought.

But if you have someone with you who only drinks this coffee a couple of cups a week, you might have an entirely different opinion, as it’s not enough time to understand and savor all the coffee has to offer. And if you can’t appreciate the taste of this specialty coffee, the pricing will seem nothing but ridiculous to you.

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However, if you’re someone who knows their coffee well, or even just someone who loves coffee, then you should definitely get your hands on a cup the next time the opportunity presents itself.

With its rich history, undefeated taste, and aroma to die for, you can see why this coffee has earned so much reputation and a heavy price tag.

But if you’re still not convinced enough, you can always get yourself some fine Geisha coffee and brew the coffee for yourself to make the final decision.

Brewing Geisha Coffee

Brewing Geisha coffee isn’t as hard as you think. This coffee’s roasting and manufacturing method may be unique, but the brewing method isn’t. You can follow the best practice for any coffee brewing method and get the best results.

Here’s a shortlist of the procedure to make it easier anyways:

  • Clean the grinder and coffee brewer beforehand to get rid of any old coffee stuck in there
  • Grind the beans just before brewing
  • Keep the coffee to water ratio accurate (0.6 oz coffee for 10 oz of water)
  • If you want the pure taste of geisha beans, serve without any milk or sugar

Had fun reading? You’ll love to read our piece on what is fermented coffee.

Bottom Line

This absolute treat of a coffee is tough to get due to its limited production. But the final result is always worth the effort. This coffee is sure to win your heart, as well as your taste buds.

If you’re convinced to pick up a bag of Geisha coffee and try it out yourself, we hope you have a wonderful afternoon with your cup of fantastic coffee.



What’s So Great About Gesha Coffee?

If put in short, everything is excellent about Geisha coffee. Let it be the flavor, taste, or appearance. Coffee aficionados worldwide recommend this Panamanian coffee without a second thought.

Where Did These Beans Originally Come From and Become “Geisha”?

The beans originally came from Ethiopia, but their growth potential reaches its peak when the beans are grown in Panama. The locals of Panama address this bean as “Gesha,” which became “Geisha” due to mispronunciation.

Why Is Panama Geisha So Hyped?

Though the quality of coffee is second to none, beans that are straight from Panama have the most distinct taste, making Panama Geisha the most hyped specialty coffee among all Ethiopian coffees.

How to Brew With Geisha Coffee?

There’s no separate, unique brewing method associated with Geisha coffee. You can follow any regular coffee brewing method to brew a cup of Geisha coffee.

What’s with the spelling of the name—is it Gesha or Geisha?

The real name of the coffee is “Gesha,” as the locals of Panama call it. The name has turned into “Geisha” over the years due to mispronunciation.