Panamanian Geisha Coffee

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November 15, 2012 by Beans Ahoy

Now I have to admit something. The coffee I am re-tasting is actually from the 2007 crop. Yes, it’s 5 years old, and has spent that time in vacuum packed plastic in a cold room, not ideal. But hey, geisha is not the easiest to come by, or the cheapest so you drink what comes your way. 2007 was also one of the best years for the coffee, and I would say, almost unmatched since.

I was blown away at the taste of the coffee. There had been no change from when I first tasted geisha back in 2007, and for those of you unfamiliar with the coffee you must try and get hold of some. Hacienda Esmeralda ( is perhaps the biggest and most famous supplier of this coffee, and is one of the few to export sufficient coffee around the world.

The bean is grown at 1500m – 1800m in volcanic soil in Boquete, Panama. It grows in heavy shade yielding quite a small, almost anemic looking bean, but wow, what a cup of coffee. The coffee is baffling. It tastes like nothing else I have experienced. The coffee is light, but rich at the same time. There are 4 or 5 distinct flavours that emerge from a slurp (see tasting note).

If there is one thing for sure, it is the quality of geisha coffee. I dare say that it is perhaps unmatched in flavour. There are certainly beans that come very close, but they somehow lack the potency of the Geisha experience.


This is a tough one. It takes less roasting than a lot of other coffee, and browns very quickly when it does start browning. One crack roasting is almost certainly enough and there should be no hint of oil on the bean. If you have gone that far, its toast. It’s best roasted in a large volume gas roaster, but given quantities that’s not always practical. Be careful of atmospheric conditions wherever you are using an i-Roast as it can greatly effect roasting times and temperatures. I found the best results to be a slightly lower temperature for a longer period, allowing a nice caramelisation of the sugars. You definitely want to let this coffee rest though. I found the flavour developing even 10-14 days after roasting.

Tasting Note:

Woody tastes when very hot, slightly two dimensional aroma. Flavour settles to strong hints of jasmine and honey, but with a strong taste of lemon and citrus fruits. Develops a slightly more chocolaty, rich, subdued after taste. Best drunk between 10 days and 3 weeks post roasting. Quite simply astounding. 10/10


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