Focus on Gesha: one of the world's most expensive coffee beans !

At L’Occasion Café, we love to tell you stories about coffee. You may have noticed it with our articles on the history of latte art, or with the history of flagship coffees such as cappuccino or americano…

This time, we’re talking about the gesha coffee variety: considered to be one of the most highly-rated in the world. ☕️

But what’s it all about? What makes it so special? What does gesha coffee taste like?

Indeed, the easiest thing would be to let you taste it, but we’ll try to explain it to you anyway 😌 So discover in this article the origin of this coffee variety. How is it produced? Why is it so expensive? What is the aroma profile of gesha coffee?

Where does gesha coffee come from?

A little bit of history

Gesha coffee originated in Ethiopia, more precisely in the Gesha region. Initially, this coffee variety began to grow without anyone really paying much attention to it. It wasn’t until the 2000s that it was recognized by coffee professionals. 🧐

But let’s take a step back in time. This coffee variety was imported into Central America in the 1960s, but this time too, gesha coffee was put aside. Growers soon realized that its branches were fragile and that there were too few coffee beans on each shoot. It’s difficult to grow and, unlike other related varieties, very hard to make a profit from.

It was then that it was forgotten for the second time, before finally coming into the limelight in 2005, in Panama. 🌟

In 2005, an annual auction, the “Best of Panama”, was organized. This event will bring together several coffee professionals, at the same time as the culture of specialty coffee gains in popularity with consumers. In fact, gesha coffee is the only coffee variety still sold at auction today!

There, gesha coffee is tasted, analyzed and is (finally) recognized as a cup-rich variety since it wins Panama’s best coffee award. 💪

Indeed, it was at this time that the coffee market began to focus more on the taste quality of coffee varieties, rather than on their ease of production. It was then that the scarcity of gesha coffee turned in its favor, justifying its particularly high price.  At the time, its price was estimated at $20 per pound, equivalent to €45 per kilo. 👀

Today, we’ll be able to find gesha coffee for around €25 per 100 grams! This will be a wonderful gift for true coffee lovers, where others would prefer to keep their wallets out of it… 😂

So how is gesha coffee produced?

Indeed, this variety also needs very specific conditions to be cultivated. In order to develop to its full potential and produce such an exceptional cup, it thrives at high altitudes, on rich volcanic soils and under shade. Panama is perfectly suited to these conditions. No other country has succeeded in cultivating gesha coffee in such a way (although many have also tried to capitalize on this variety 👀).

In this way, gesha coffee is produced in the mountains, at an altitude of 1600 meters. That’s how it can benefit from a cold, rainy climate. But that’s not all! The conditions are even more stringent: the tree has to be regularly cut back to a maximum height of 1.50 metres, so that its highest branches don’t fracture.

As already mentioned, the production of this variety is very specific and does not allow for international exploitation, as it requires a very specific climate that is particularly particular to Panama.

Cultivation and harvesting are equally complex… The ripening of gesha fruit is not uniform, which means that it will be necessary to visit the same tree several times to harvest each fruit. ☝️

(If you’re surprised by the word “fruit” when referring to coffee beans, you haven’t read our article on specialty coffee 😇)

What does gesha coffee taste like?

Obviously, the flavors of a cup of coffee will vary from one country to another, as the conditions under which it is produced will not be the same. So while a gesha coffee from Colombia or Costa Rica will be very good, it won’t develop exactly the same flavors as one from Panama.

But let’s get to the heart of the matter: what flavour profile does gesha coffee have? 😋

Indeed, if you’re a bit trained and know how to recognize coffee flavors, you’ll certainly find the scent of rose, which will be found in every cup of gesha 😉. Generally speaking, it has a very floral fragrance, and you’ll notice a touch of acidity on the palate.

Otherwise, you’ll be surprised by the delicate, juicy consistency of gesha coffee. In fact, it’s a very mild coffee, very similar to tea.  We’d say it has a tea-like profile. 🫖

We hope we’ve taught you a few things about the gesha variety, which is still one of the most expensive coffee varieties in the world!

It’s a difficult coffee to produce, with a taste that’s truly out of this world! If you’re looking to give a quality gift (and a rather expensive one at that) to a coffee lover, we highly recommend it! ❤️

See you soon at l’Occasion Café! ✅

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