Tasting Gesha for the first time is an experience any coffee lover truly never forgets. The dark aromatic coffee originated in Gesha Village of Ethiopia and demand has flourished.
A recent conference, Let's Talk Coffee held in 2014 stunned the distinguished panel of professionals. Ric Rhinehart of the Specialty Coffee Association described the experience as unforgettable. Gesha varieties from Ethiopia and Panama were on the table for cupping. The Panamanian Gesha holds a distinct jasmine scent.
Gesha coffee is now a worldwide phenomenon. The variety is showing up on tables in final rounds at the World Barista Championship and the World Brewer's Cup. The original Gesha Variety was discovered in Ethiopia's Gori Gesha Forest. Collected seeds found their way from the British Council in the 1930s to the Tropical Agricultural Research Center in Costa Rica.
Panamanian Officials returned to their country after a hunt for new coffee varieties to plant and cultivate. Wonderfully, the officials gave a handful of seedlings to the estate of Hacienda La Esmeralda in the 1960s. The overwhelming quality of the Gesha was discovered later after several migrations. The Panamanian Gesha variety is now grown on farms in Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Hacienda La Esmeralda is the primary producer of these coffee varietals. Rudolph Peterson bought the land in 1967 as a retirement venture. Coffee was a generational product in and around the Hacienda La Esmeralda. Peterson tapped this vast knowledge of farming and repurposed the land for specialty coffees.
Gesha in 2004, began its march to the most sought after coffee in the world. One of the Gesha blends produced by Peterson received first place in the Best of Panama competition. At the time of the competition, Peterson's Gesha broke all records for the highest price paid for green coffee.
In the 1990s the world started to develop a taste for specialty coffees. Peterson and the Hacienda La Esmeralda purchased additional high altitude lands to take advantage of the specialty coffee explosion. In 2004, the now-famous Gesha coffee was planted, and Peterson added infrastructure to handle burgeoning demand.
Panamanian Gesha, the coffee considered by many professional cuppers to be the best in the world. This coffee varietals possesses a sparkling flavor with bold clarity and sweetness. The high altitude regions of Panama produce the most dramatic flavors in the world like mango, berry, guava, and papaya among others.
Gesha trees grow best in higher elevation, such as the Bouquet region of Panama at 1450 to 1700 meters. The plant itself is a mutation of the Arabica and the Gesha tree, known for its elongated leaves and fruit. Beans from the Latin American region are known for chocolate and nut aromas. The coffee has delicate acidity, which makes it extremely easy to drink.
Luccari Coffee, a specialty roaster, delivers single-origin coffees from seeds tucked inside the Arabica Tree of Colombia. The country's high altitude, volcanic soil creates the sweetest most dynamic coffees in the world. Small "cherries" are handpicked in the picturesque rolling hills of Colombia. Luccari Coffee has captured the essence of the magical coffee bean.
Gesha Village of Ethiopia produces several varieties of the specialty coffee. Farms in the region produce competing blends for sale to baristas around the world. The village is divided into three separate sub-farms. Each sub-farm tracks the production and experiments with variety and fermentation. Cherries from each farm are tagged and tracked from the mill to the time of export.
- SHAYA: Jasmine, bergamot and orange aroma
- SHEWA-JIBABU: Strawberry, peach and papaya flavors
- BANGI: Honeysuckle and spice flavor
- GAYLEE: Intense sweetness, fruit and spice profile
- DIMMA: Stone fruit, coffee blossom flavor with a citrus aftertaste
- NARSHA: Yellow fruit, lime, and dark chocolate aromas
- OMA: Tea rose and intense jasmine scent
- SURMA: Damascus rose, strawberry and ripe watermelon
Environmentally friendly farms throughout the Ethiopian region have made firm commitments to the future of their product. The Agroforestry Farming approach integrates native trees and shrubs back into the Ethiopian environment, promoting sustainability for the future of the country.
Intense fruit flavoring makes Gesha hard to pair with other drinks and food. Many combine either Gesha with berry deserts or other fruit-based cuisines. However, try these specialty foods when you want something unique with Gesha.
- Buttered croissant: There is nothing better in the morning than a piping hot cup of Planarian Gesha and a lightly buttered, warm croissant.
- Muffins: Try one of the flavorful Ethiopian Geshas with a warm, buttered muffin. Be careful not to overwhelm a tart muffin. It will compete with your Gesha. Or vice versa.
- Bagel: Plain, buttered and hot bagel with a cup of aromatic Gesha early in the morning is a perfect start to the day.
Gesha coffees are a prized addition to any collection. One of the reasons for the exclusivity is the Gesha only thrives in microclimates in higher regions. Since 2004, Gesha coffee has continued to win world championships with no sign of slowing down. Growers are taking great pains to bring different varieties to the market while keeping current blends exclusive.
Panamanian Gesha, considered the most expensive brand of coffee in the world with single bags fetching more than $100. Price is dependent on what region the coffee comes from and where the beans rank in professional cupping. Coffee aficionados will pay the price for a quality cup with a good background. For the casual coffee drinker, Gesha may be too expensive for an everyday cup.
Casual coffee drinkers may find Gesha a pleasant splurge at their favorite roaster. The sweet, bright taste of Gesha is a surprise. For the first time Gesha drinkers it tastes like a sweet tea rather than a specialty coffee.
The most significant aspect of Gesha is each grower, no matter the region of the world has committed to sustainability. Gesha Village and Hacienda La Esmeralda seek out new ways to cultivate and process.
Every grower is dedicated to producing the best coffee in the world.