Gesha Coffee 101

Roble Negro Farm owners talking to Good Citizen Team

Specialty coffee nerds, like us, talk about tasting notes of coffee all the time. These tasting notes are a guide to experiencing the aromas and tastes found while drinking and brewing coffee. Like beer or wine, coffee can have many different inherent factors that impact its flavor and smell like where it’s grown, how it’s processed, the roasting method, how it’s brewed, and even the coffee’s plant variety.

WHAT IS A COFFEE VARIETY?

For wine, different grape varieties mean different tasting wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Rieslings, Zinfandel. Similarly for big time beer fans, different hop varieties mean different beer experiences: Cascada, Citra, Centennial, Amarillo, Mosaic, Magnum. 

The same holds true for coffee varieties. Specific coffee trees produce unique tasting coffee cherries with unique aromas and terroir that contribute to the final experience of the brewed coffee. 

Catuaí (Yellow and Red), Castillo, Colombia, and Bourbon varieties are some of the most common that Good Citizen offers. These varieties can be found in our blends and our core Single Origins. Chosen and well-loved for their clean, sweet, and balanced taste notes, these varieties are less rare. But not all coffee varieties are made equal. Others are known for their scarcity and nuanced complexities, their remarkably vibrancy, and their unfamiliar profiles. Gesha coffees (sometimes spelled “Geisha”) happen to be one of the most sought after varieties in the specialty coffee world for this very reason.

WHAT IS GESHA COFFEE?

The Gesha coffee variety is one of the highest quality coffees in the world. Geshas are known for their delicate flavors and atypical after notes. These distinctive flavors can be both flowery and tea-like as well as incredibly fruit forward. Depending on the region it is grown and the roasting method, Gesha coffees have it all: tropical fruit, floral aromatics, creamy mouthfeel, intense sweetness, chocolatey richness, cup clarity, and not surprisingly, high cupping scores.

Lee Sill, our Training Manager notes, “One thing I always tell people I love about Gesha coffees is how they can have a combination of so many attributes I love in coffee, but while in most coffees you may only get one or two of those attributes, great Geshas have them all.”

The success story and popularity of Geshas worldwide remind us of coffee’s  mired colonial past and encourages us to remember coffee’s black and African origins.  

Roble Negro farm in Costa Rica

WHY ARE GESHAS SO RARE? 

Grown at some of steepest altitudes globally, Gesha coffee plants require elevations of 5,500 feet above sea level (roughly 1670 MASL) and higher to thrive.  While the quality potential of Gesha cherries are exceptional, these coffee trees typically produce lower yield for coffee farmers, adding to the varieties' rarity. 

Combined with this plant’s inefficient photosynthesis, limited harvesting schedules, and high susceptibility to agricultural disease and pests such as coffee rust, nematodes, and coffee cherry disease, Gesha coffees can be quite the challenge to successfully grow. This makes them a high risk, potentially high reward investment for coffee producers and farmers. 

For good reasons, these unique cultivating conditions paired with Gesha’s incredible quality and taste make this coffee variety one of the most valuable cups in the world. 

GOOD CITIZEN GESHAS

We are proud to offer two new exclusive Geshas for a limited time: Lorena Jiménez Gesha and Finca Las Palomas Gesha. Both Geshas are processed at the Roble Negro micromill, owned by Jorge Vasquéz Ureña, whose coffees from Finca Cedral Alto we have been offering for several years now. 

Producers like Jorge of Roble Negro, Daniel of Finca Las Palomas, and Lorena of Finca El Zapote and Finca El Cristóbal, are critical players in what makes an excellent cup of coffee possible, both today and for future generations. Without them, we couldn't do what we do. We're shining a light on these incredible people who are integral in coffee’s journey from farm to cup — who are considering the generational impacts of their farming practices with soil health, regenerative agriculture, and biodiversity in mind.

 

Lorena at the Roble Negro coffee farm in Costa Rica

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