Our Love Affair with Geisha â $ ” Itâ $ s Not Just a Panama Thing Anymore
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loading=”lazy”class =” wp-image-21679 size-large “src =”https://how-to-brew.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/our-love-affair-with-geisha-ac280c294-itac280c299s-not-just-a-panama-thing-anymore.png”alt width=”1024″height=”584″ srcset =”https://how-to-brew.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/our-love-affair-with-geisha-ac280c294-itac280c299s-not-just-a-panama-thing-anymore.png 1024w, https://dlo9n43mpvj20faa12i3i3lh-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screen-Shot-2021-11-10-at-4.08.10-PM-300×171.png 300w, https://dlo9n43mpvj20faa12i3i3lh-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screen-Shot-2021-11-10-at-4.08.10-PM-768×438.png 768w, https://dlo9n43mpvj20faa12i3i3lh-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screen-Shot-2021-11-10-at-4.08.10-PM-1536×876.png 1536w, https://dlo9n43mpvj20faa12i3i3lh-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screen-Shot-2021-11-10-at-4.08.10-PM-2048×1168.png 2048w”sizes =”( max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”> Geisha seedlings in a Chiapas, Mexico nursery. Courtesy of Kim Westerman.The Geisha variety of Arabica is the most expensive green coffee in the world. Year after year, this popular variety– known for(in the hands of an excellent roaster )its florality, delicate fruit, integrated structure and balance– breaks brand-new cost records in the very best of Panama auction. The Panama with the greatest cost in 2021 was a Geisha that sold for$2,568.00– per
pound. It’s gotten stratospheric in the way that white wine auctions did long earlier. You can discuss the relative(in
)peace of mind of this phenomenon, however the truth is that Geisha is the beloved of the specialized coffee world. Geisha’s Migration Around The Globe Geisha came from the Gori Gesha Forest of Ethiopia, however made its incredible appearance on the global specialized coffee phase in Panama, where, in 2004, a Geisha grown by the Peterson family won the very best of Panama green coffee competition with an extraordinary high score. The following year, a Peterson Geisha won the competitors once again and was sold at auction with a then record-breaking winning quote of $305 a pound. The Geisha race was on. Geisha is now to Panama as Kona is to Hawai’i– its crown jewel and its most well-known luxury product. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take wish for producers in other countries to try their hand at this fabled range. In 2021, it’s hard to consider anywhere coffee is grown that doesn’t have at least some Geisha planted. The question is: How great is it? Does the famous Geisha cup profile travel?
For this month’s report, we chose to look at the Geisha variety grown anywhere outside of Panama. We got Geishas produced in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico, and Taiwan– nearly 100 samples, all informed. Does the Geisha variety fare in other growing regions in addition to it carries out in reliable Panama?
Sorting Geisha cherries at Acacia Hills Farm in Tanzania. Courtesy of Chromatic Coffee. Geisha’s increasing desirability for producers makes good sense: Geisha is challenging and low-yielding to grow, but farmers can earn a lot more per completed pound than they can for almost any other variety. Trends in consumer need, which mainly figure out manufacturers ‘dispositions, are more made complex. It seems that the trend is not always toward the Geisha variety, specifically, but more towards distinction from the norm, which can take the kind of varietal differences however might include experimental processing techniques, as well (something we’ll discuss in a bit).
Individuals who enjoy Geisha fall under two camps: those who acknowledge and value its naturally compelling qualities but only spring for it on special events, and those who are obsessed with it, investing whatever they should to stay in constant supply of the Champagne of coffee. These camps, nevertheless, can not agree on how to spell it.
A Rose By Any Other Spelling
Is it “Geisha” or “Gesha?” That depends upon who you ask. While there is no set guideline, Panama manufacturers tend to utilize Geisha because the Petersons discovered documents from the British Consulate, composed in 1936, that utilize this spelling, claiming that this range of Arabica was found near “Geisha Mountain” in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, there doesn’t appear to be any such place, and African producers tend to utilize the Gesha spelling, given that the name of the forest where the range more than likely come from is Gori Gesha, suggesting that “Geisha” is a misspelling. Both spellings are acceptable nowadays, and we at Coffee Review prefer Geisha for general usage, however we utilize the Gesha spelling when a manufacturer or roaster of a coffee we are examining uses it. We tend to see “Geishas” from Panama, “Geshas” from Africa, and no genuine consistency among other origins.
Geisha coffees drying on raised beds at Acacia Hills Coffee in Tanzania. Courtesy of Chromatic Coffee. The most unfortunate effect of the use of the” Geisha”spelling is its crossover with the word in Japanese culture, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the coffee variety.
A handful of unethical online marketers have picked to misappropriate the term with illustrations that incorrectly evoke Japanese culture, but these are rare. Now that we’ve settled the spelling question, if only by welcoming its ambiguity, what about the coffees themselves? 9 Non-Panama Geishas
We cupped 98 coffees for this report, and ratings ranged from 84-96. A complete 65%, or 64 coffees, scored 90 or above, a very impressive showing. What is it about the Geisha range of Arabica that makes it tend toward quality? Geisha is tricky to grow. It is relatively disease-resistant however needs lots of attention; root systems are not as sturdy as the majority of ranges of Arabica, and due to the fact that of their foliar structure, photosynthesis is not as efficient. This indicates a lower volume of fruit however more concentration (just as in vineyards whose canopy styles opportunity quality over volume). This is one factor Geisha can command such a high rate. Another reason is its normally striking sensory character. A 3rd factor is, well, people appear going to pay extra for its relative rarity, what they perceive to be its “exoticism.”
The “unique” is a troublesome concept, both geo-politically and culturally, and we prevent the term not only because it’s a type of “othering” however likewise because it’s truly no longer true. Geisha is grown just about everywhere in the world where altitudes and soils contribute to growing coffee.
What was so revealing about this report cupping is that we showed up Geishas from 5 countries outside of Panama that scored in between 93 and 96, I daresay this is as impressive a top nine as we may find in an all-Panama Geisha cupping.
2 samples scored 96, a Colombia and a Guatemala, the previous from San Diego’s always-impressive Bird Rock, and the latter from Taiwan rock-star roaster Kakalove. The Bird Rock Colombia La Siria Geisha, produced by Anibal Burban, was processed by the traditional washed approach. It is lyrically fruit-toned and intricate, showing notes of pluot, cocoa nib, Meyer lemon zest, star jasmine and pistachio in aroma and cup. Kakalove’s Guatemala Santa Felisa Wild Yeast Natural Gesha is fermented in the whole fruit with the addition of wild yeasts (borrowing a page from vinicultural trends), resulting in what is, essentially, a fermented natural. The cup is playfully detailed and tropical. Think lychee, macadamia nut, pink grapefruit zest, cocoa nib and plumeria.
class=”wp-image-21678 size-large”src =” https://how-to-brew.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/our-love-affair-with-geisha-ac280c294-itac280c299s-not-just-a-panama-thing-anymore-3.png “alt width =” 1024″height =” 583 “srcset=”https://how-to-brew.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/our-love-affair-with-geisha-ac280c294-itac280c299s-not-just-a-panama-thing-anymore-3.png 1024w, https://dlo9n43mpvj20faa12i3i3lh-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screen-Shot-2021-11-10-at-4.05.02-PM-300×171.png 300w, https://dlo9n43mpvj20faa12i3i3lh-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screen-Shot-2021-11-10-at-4.05.02-PM-768×437.png 768w, https://dlo9n43mpvj20faa12i3i3lh-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screen-Shot-2021-11-10-at-4.05.02-PM-1536×874.png 1536w, https://dlo9n43mpvj20faa12i3i3lh-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Screen-Shot-2021-11-10-at-4.05.02-PM-2048×1165.png 2048w”sizes=”( max-width: 1024px)100vw, 1024px”> Colombia’s Cafe Granja La Esperanza Las Margaritas Farm. Courtesy ofPT’s Coffee Roasting Co. Two coffees we rated 95 are simply as engaging in their subtlety and complexity. Kansas City-based PT’s Coffee submitted a Colombia Granja La Esperanza Las Margaritas Gesha Honey, whose producer is world-renowned for successful high-altitude washed coffees. The Herrera brothers, Rigoberto and Luis, have carried on their family’s traditions and extended them into the realm of speculative processing. This coffee has notes of strawberry-guava, cocoa nib, wild honey, marjoram and lilac. Chromatic Coffee’s Tanzania Acacia Hills Gesha Peaberry (note the African spelling of “Gesha”) uses a richly sweet-savory counterpoint, with notes of blackberry jam, toffee, lavender, spearmint, fresh-cut cedar– a bit like an excellent Kenya on steroids.
Differentiated coffees from Ethiopia, Guatemala and Costa Rica was available in at 94: Bay Area-based Equator Coffee’s Colombia La Palma Y El Tucán Gesha Natural; Taiwan-based GK Coffee’s Ethiopia Gesha Village Lot # 33; and Connecticut-based Willoughby Coffee’s Costa Rica La Rejolla Washed Geisha.
Completing the field are 2 93-scoring Geishas roasted in Taiwan: Omine Coffee’s Guatemala Geisha Natural and Wuguo’s Ethiopia Washed Micro-Anaerobic Geisha.
Roaster Yoyo Guo at Taipei-based Wuguo Cafe. Thanks to Wuguo. Processing Experiments and Classic Profiles One might ask, if Geisha is such an outstanding green coffee when processed utilizing the classic washed and now-classic natural techniques, why one would want to use newer, profile-altering processing strategies to it? Wouldn’t there be more reward to showcase the timeless Geisha aromatics and flavors through proven, familiar processing strategies? Of the nine coffees we review here, three are washed, three are sun-dried naturals, and 3 deal experimental twists on these approaches.
Just as farmers throughout coffeelands have planted Geisha to separate their offerings and present customers with unique cup profiles, they have actually experimented with uncommon processing methods for the exact same factor– to include worth to their coffees and provide another sensory journey for customers. So, just as Geisha fans fall under camps by degree of their level of obsession with the range, coffee drinkers tend towards among several characters: timeless or innovative.
I take place to be someone who enjoys the morning routine of a timeless cup (provide me a fantastic Kenya or cleaned Ethiopia any day of the week), though I like my wild, often even funky, ventures in the afternoon where I’m going more for sensory exploration and a brain break than Proustian comfort, whereas lots of friends constantly wish to awaken to a sensory surprise, and the variations on profile developed by anaerobic processing (coffees fermented in low-oxygen environments) definitely provide that. (See our May 2021 report Fun with Ferment: Anaerobically Processed Coffees. It stays to be seen how far manufacturers will opt for applying profile-altering experiments to the already different and deservedly venerated Geisha.
What Roasters Think About The Geisha Phenomenon
Barry Levine, of Willoughby’s Coffee, has been cupping Geishas from their first look on the coffee scene. He says, “For the first decade of Geisha production, the flavors were truly viewed as unique. As more gets produced, both in Panama and now in numerous other countries, the novelty is less however the variety has actually developed a fan base, most especially in Asia. Some coffee shops there sell absolutely nothing however Geisha. For farmers, the inspiration is a love of coffee quality and a chance to make considerably more cash for their work.”
Equator’s Ted Stachura likes Geisha merely for its unmistakability. He says, “The sweet flower aromatic quality that encounters in the very best examples of Geisha resembles couple of other coffees worldwide.” But Hiver van Geenhoven, of Chromatic Coffee, wonders about the fad. He states, “It honestly surprises me that a lot of producers would pursue Geisha, considering how fairly low the yields are. It’s a substantial sacrifice of amount on their end, but for many, it’s worth it to go after the high prices and prestige of the darling of the specialty coffee world.” He includes, “I’ve seen tea enthusiasts convert to coffee since of Geishas. I’ve seen looks of surprise as individuals experience the layered flavors altering as the drink cools, exposing all of a sudden intricate and moving textures and tonalities, which just continue to deepen, thicken, and magnify.”
GK Coffee’s Gary Liao states that some coffee drinkers in Taiwan want a Geisha alternative 365 days a year. And he welcomes the greater cost of Geishas from countries other than Panama due to the fact that it allows his consumers to delight in a sort of daily luxury.
Roaster Gary Liao of GK Coffee in Yilan, Taiwan. Thanks To GK Coffee.
And while this report is timed completely for the holiday season, when coffee enthusiasts are more likely to feel spendy, these 9 exemplars of Geisha grown beyond Panama advise us that the world of coffee offers both luxury and relative access.
This post was inspired by the article at Coffee Review, a website specializing in coffee reviews, espresso ratings, informative articles, and coffee blogs written by coffee experts.