Geisha coffee, a varietal known for its unique characteristics and admired by coffee connoisseurs the world over, has gained popularity as one of the most exquisite – and expensive – beans available today. But have you ever wondered why this particular coffee commands such a high price?
Read on as we embark on a journey through the history, production process, and exceptional qualities of Geisha coffee while exploring the possible answers to why is Geisha coffee so expensive.
- The Sensitive Nature of Geisha Plants
- The Labor-intensive Harvesting Process
- Exceptional Taste Profile and Cupping Scores
- The Luxury Element: Limited Supply and High Demand
A Brief History of Geisha Coffee
Geisha coffee originated in the Gori Gesha forests of Ethiopia and was first introduced to Central America in the 1950s. It wasn’t until 2004 when the Hacienda La Esmeralda farm in Panama won the Best of Panama coffee competition with their Geisha beans, that the coffee world’s attention was truly captured. Since then, Geisha coffee prices have steadily increased due to its growing reputation and demand.
Why Is Geisha Coffee So Expensive?
The Sensitive Nature of Geisha Plants
Geisha coffee plants are delicate and require specific growing conditions to flourish. They thrive at high altitudes (1,800 – 2,200 meters above sea level) and necessitate a particular climate with ample rainfall and shade. These finicky requirements mean Geisha plants can only be cultivated in a handful of regions, such as Panama, Colombia, and Ethiopia, contributing to the scarcity and high cost of the beans.
The Labor-intensive Harvesting Process
Geisha coffee cherries (the fruit that contains the beans) are handpicked, ensuring only the perfectly ripe cherries are selected for processing. This labor-intensive method, coupled with the fact that Geisha plants yield less fruit than other coffee varieties, contributes to the high price associated with these beans.
*Extraordinary care goes into harvesting Geisha coffee cherries, with experienced pickers taking up to an hour to carefully harvest just one pound of fruit.
Exceptional Taste Profile and Cupping Scores
One of the primary reasons Geisha coffee is so sought-after is its unique and complex flavor profile, often described as floral, fruity, and tea-like, with notes of jasmine, bergamot, and tropical fruits. Due in part to these extraordinary flavors, Geisha coffee consistently receives high cupping scores (a standardized method of evaluating coffee quality). The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) rates coffee beans on a 100-point scale, and it’s not uncommon for Geisha beans to score in the 90s – a true testament to their quality.
The Luxury Element: Limited Supply and High Demand
The culmination of rarity, difficulty in cultivating and harvesting Geisha beans, as well as its unique flavor profile and high cupping scores, has created a situation of limited supply and high demand for this precious coffee – hence the seemingly exorbitant price.
Ultimately, the factors we have discussed combine to create an undeniable luxury product – one that commands an extremely high price. While Geisha coffee may not be accessible to everyone, its popularity has only grown since it was first introduced to the world in 2004. As more and more people discover this exquisite coffee, they undoubtedly understand why it’s worth every penny. And now that you know the story behind Geisha coffee and where those high prices come from, you can appreciate its value and savor every sip.
The Role of Auctions in Determining Geisha Coffee Prices
Geisha coffee is typically sold at auctions, with buyers vying for the limited supply of beans. These auctions often drive up the price, as high ratings, glowing reviews, and intense competition among buyers establish Geisha Coffee’s luxury status.
*In 2019, a record-breaking $1,029 per pound (for a total of $33,061) was paid at the Best of Panama auction for one lot of Geisha beans.
Geisha coffee is a truly remarkable and luxurious product, with an incredibly rich and complex flavor profile. Its high price is justified by its scarcity, labor-intensive harvesting process, and quality standards, as well as the demand for it at auctions. Ultimately, Geisha Coffee’s extraordinary character makes it worth every penny – so take time to appreciate and savor each sip.