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What Is Geisha Coffee & Why Is It So Expensive In 2022?

  • Date: April 10, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

In recent years, Geisha coffee beans have grown in huge demand.

This is partly due to their introduction in the 2004 best of Panama coffee auction, taking all taste evaluators by surprise and becoming famous overnight.

Legitimate Geisha coffee from Panama is so expensive because it requires unique cultivating conditions.

Only a certain amount of coffee can be grown every year, which is far from enough considering how many people want to get their hands on it.

What Is Geisha Coffee?

Geisha coffee, also known as Gesha, got its name from its original origins in the Gori Gesha forest located in Ethiopia.

It is renowned for its incredibly distinct flavour, and is one of the most exclusive and expensive coffees in the world, costing up to $600 USD per pound.

It was first brought from Ethiopia to Costa Rica in the 1950s.

Soon afterwards, it was taken to Panama as one of the new types of coffee that the country may cultivate.

Hacienda la Esmeralda was one of the farms that took the seeds.

The guys over at caffeinemag.com suggest, you are actually unlike to find Geisha served in your local coffee shop.

“Not only is it difficult to cultivate, which makes it rare, there is also a limited platform for Geisha while the industry continues to be dominated by espresso-based milk drinks”.

You are much more likely to see it at barista and brewing competitions, where it has a well deserved reputation for making award winning coffee.

In fact, Geisha is the preferred bean of champions.

Most recently, Berg Wu of Taiwan took first place at the World Barista Championships with a stunning washed Geisha from Finca Deborah in Panama.

What Does Geisha Coffee Taste Like?

Geisha coffee has a distinctive, flowery and fruit like flavour that can vary depending on the origin. 

It can have a hint of citrus, mango, papaya, guava, and many other exotic fruit flavours.

“It is like a precious perfume, with rose, jasmine, and bergamot notes. In the cup, it has an amazing array of delicate flavours with an unusual lingering aftertaste. You might taste lime, honeysuckle, papaya – it’s always incredibly fruit-forward”.

Willem Boot
Owner of Boot Coffee

How Much Is Geisha Coffee?

On average you can pay three to four times more for Geisha coffee than another speciality varietal.

According to homegrounds.co, Geisha can go up to $600 per pound, especially if you want to purchase it from the famous Hacienda la Esmeralda.

You can find it for as low as $9 per cup in Panama and for $18 in some coffee shops in New York. 

However, one coffee shop in San Francisco recently sold out limited supplies of the ”Elida Geisha 803” beans for $75 per cup.

person holding espresso cup with coffee inside

Why Is Geisha Coffee So Expensive?

Demand for Geisha coffee has become so high that coffee shops can’t just go to a supplier and get a bag of beans for themselves.

Coffee shops may have to place a bid to get their hands on the coffee, which has led to intense competition and a very high price tag.

coffee cherry plant in yemen

The Panama Geisha variety also repeatedly scores the highest number of points of all competitors with the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).

The SCA uses a 100 point scoring system to evaluate the quality of coffee, with Geisha always scoring above 90.

How To Brew With Geisha Coffee?

coffee brewing

If you are going to invest in a specialty coffee as rare and precious as Panama geisha coffee beans, you will want to handle it with care.

Geisha is best brewed as a filter, as its subtlety is less suited to the harsh pressure of an espresso machine.

It also really doesn’t shine with a blanket of steamed milk poured over it. 

Check out how to Chemex Brewing Guide here.


There is no doubt that Geisha coffee is great, and merits a high price tag.

It is considered one of the best available coffees for those who appreciate, and notice the subtle difference in flavours when it comes to coffee.

Just be sure to do the proper research on the supplier to figure out whether the coffee being sold is legitimate Geisha coffee from Panama.

Otherwise you will just be wasting your money.

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