December 2, 2012 by Beans Ahoy
Now you probably could not ask a more biased person to offer his opinion on Geisha coffee. I believe Geisha to be of the finest variety of coffees available. It is not for everyone though. Geisha has an unusual aroma and flavour. It is perhaps the most difficult aroma and taste to try and describe to someone. There are hints of various wild flowers, honey, citrus fruits, and tartness, but at the end of the day there is a flavour that you just don’t get anywhere else.
Geisha originated in Ethiopia, but frankly, it has grown far better in South and Central America. The main countries that have taken to growing the Geisha variety of bean is Panama, Costa Rica, and Columbia. I have a review posted on the 2007 Panamanian Geisha in the November 2012 archive, and it is perhaps the first, and last time I have given a 10.0. This particular coffee had, what was in my opinion, the perfect growing season and at the end of the day you have to stake your claim and say what you believe to be the best coffee in the world. The Panamanian Geisha of that season was it.
Big shoes then for the CR Geisha to fill. I should say that my first impression of the coffee was a bit of a shock. The beans were remarkably wholesome looking. Geisha has a tendency to develop a weedy, almost emaciated bean as yields are very low. I have also tasted Geisha from Costa Rica before and it was a bit of a disappointment. There just isn’t the aroma, taste, or complexity to the coffee. It was flat, unappealing, and a let down. Part of the problem I believe is down to the higher levels of light exposure on the Costa Rican Geisha. This increases yields and allows for easier processing but destroys the very delicate tastes of Geisha.
But, and it’s a big but, of the three coffees I tasted from Sea Island Coffee this was the most impressive. They have managed to capture that Geisha taste, and have roasted perfectly to capture all the delicate flavours of the bean. Is it at the level of the Panamanian Geishas? No, but it is very close. There is a slight lack of lingering after taste which can be very powerful in heavier shade Geishas. There is also a slightly two dimensional taste. Certainly, the ingredients of a good geisha coffee are there, but they aren’t absolutely perfectly sewn together, but really this is not very important because this is still an exceptional coffee that you would be privileged to drink every day. The faults in it are mainly academic, and don’t detract from the fact that you are going to have a fantastic cup. It compares well to some of the fantastic Geishas that Colombia has been producing. This will be a coffee to watch in the future.
Typically Geisha. Strong tones of honeysuckle, and lavender, with that element of “Geisha-ness”, that full mouth taste and aroma. After taste is a little short, and the flavours don’t quite develop in the mouth as much as some other Geishas. The taste profile remains static through the mouthful. These elements don’t really change as the cup cools, but they do intensify. A great cup and well worth it. Deficiencies will not change your enjoyment of this coffee. 9.2/10.0