Geisha coffee today: just a hype?
The short answer is: no. But let’s look into the why.
First, growing Geisha is no picnic. Its leaves are narrower and less dense than those of other varieties. This
makes photosynthesis more difficult. Its root system is less developed, too. A trait that makes Geisha
susceptible to troubles like fungi. In sum, Geisha coffee produces less than half the
beans compared to a
variety like Catuai.
Second, Geisha coffee loves high altitude, at 1,700 m above sea level or higher. That's where it develops its
full flavor potential. The higher the lot, the less oxygen is in the air. And so it takes eight dire
Geisha to reach its full potential.
Third, Geisha is tricky to roast. A fraction of a second too much,
and the beans will
lose all the more
delicate aromas, giving way to chocolate and caramel undertones. Defining the perfect roast profile for Geisha
requires an artist-cum-scientist, who has to rely on sensory experience but also juggle between a handful of
variables like roast time, temperature, drum speed, and airflow.
Exclusivity and low yields come with a price tag. That’s why, even with a lower cupping score, a
Geisha will be more expensive than its cousin variety.