If you’re a coffee nut, you may have noticed some buzz around something called Geisha coffee. This complex variety of coffee is in high demand, often fetching insane prices at high-end coffee auctions.
Experts rave about its sweet flavor and aroma, and it has won numerous coffee awards, including the Best of Panama competition.
Geisha coffee beans can be brewed in a variety of ways, such as with a French press, using a pour over method, or with a vacuum brewer. Pour over is often considered the best way to brew it.
This article will explain the details of growing and brewing Geisha beans and I’ll talk about a Geisha coffee recipe for making the perfect cup, as well.
What is Geisha coffee?
Geisha (or gesha) coffee is a variety of coffee beans initially discovered in Ethiopia in the 1930s. The name comes from the mountainous Gesha region of Ethiopia, in which it was initially grown.
Colonists experimenting with local coffee varieties presented the Geisha beans to a British consul in 1936, who then brought seeds to Tanzania and Costa Rica.
Production spread to Panama in the 1960s, where it quickly became a highly prized coffee variant.
Panamanian Geisha has since become its own distinct variant, with Geisha coffees from the Boquete region fetching as high as $600 per pound. Experts consistently rate the flavor and aroma of Geisha coffee as some of the best coffee in the world.
Are you interested in learning all about Geisha coffee? I go in-depth about this special coffee here.
What is the best way to brew Geisha coffee?
Like any type of coffee, the best Geisha coffee recipe will depend on your personal tastes. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure you’re getting the best flavor out of your brew:
- Store your beans properly. Geisha coffee is costly (around $60 a cup), so it’s crucial to store the beans in a place where they will stay fresh. This means using an airtight container and keeping the beans in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
- Don’t pre-grind the beans. Coffee grounds quickly start losing flavor and moisture the longer they sit around, so it’s a good idea to only grind up your beans once you’re ready to brew them.
- Make sure to use the proper grind for your brewing method. Grinding your beans to the appropriate coarseness is key. Drip brewers typically use a fine grind, while pour overs and French presses use a more coarse grind. You can check my recommendation for the best grind size here.
- Use the right amount of water and grounds. The ratio of grounds to water is what makes brewed coffee ‘strong’ or ‘weak’. Typically, you want to use at least 17g (three-fifths of an ounce) of grounds for every 300ml (ten fluid ounces) of water. If you want a more robust cup, then you can use more grounds to boost the flavor.
- Use filtered water at the right temperature. Tap water contains many minerals and other substances that can affect the flavor of a brewed cup of coffee. Making sure to filter the water will dramatically improve the taste of your cup. Also, make sure to use water that is not quite boiling, so you don’t burn the grinds.
- Drink it black. Not everybody is a black coffee type of person, but drinking Geisha coffee black is by far the best way to really get the full flavor and aroma.
Another thing to take into consideration is the brewing method. Although using a typical drip brewer is just fine, a few other methods are better for Geisha coffee recipes.
In the end, it depends on your personal preference and what tools you have at your disposal:
- French press. The French press is a traditional method of brewing coffee where coarsely ground beans are brewed right in the water and then pressed out with a filter on a piston. This is a straightforward method suitable for making larger pots of higher-end coffee.
- Pour over. This is one of the most traditional ways of brewing coffee. Using a ceramic or plastic funnel with a coffee filter, hot water is poured directly over coffee grounds into the cup or pot. This method gives you a lot of control over how the coffee is brewed.
- Vacuum coffee maker. Invented by German engineers in the 1800s, vacuum brewers use vapor pressure to percolate heated water up into a chamber filled with coffee grounds, where it filters back down into a pot as brewed coffee. This is often considered the best method by coffee experts.
Here’s an easy Geisha coffee recipe to try
This recipe uses a Hario V60, but any pour over brewer (like a Chemex) should achieve a similar effect.
For this recipe, I like to use the thinner filter that the Hario V60 uses. In my opinion, the Chemex filters are too thick for this special coffee.
I’m using Geisha coffee beans from Thailand. Panamanian Geisha beans, such as these Hayman Coffee Medium Roast Geisha Beans (available on Amazon), should give a similar (or even better) flavor.
This recipe uses a conservative amount of beans and brews a nicely balanced, aromatic cup of Geisha coffee.
I chose to use a slightly finer coffee grind because less ground coffee is used to brew this coffee. Slowly pouring the water is the key to the perfect Geisha coffee. This is what the coffee grind looks like:
This recipe should make around 240ml (eight fluid ounces) of coffee. I recommended drinking it as soon as possible after brewing to get the best flavor. Be careful, though, as the coffee will be hot.
Now that you know about my thought process, it’s time to brew some coffee yourself:
- 15 grams (half an ounce) of geisha coffee beans
- 250 ml (eight and a half fluid ounces) of water
- Heat the water to 92°C (196.6°F).
- Place your Hario V60 onto a server or coffee cup.
- Insert a coffee filter and rinse the coffee filter.
- Throw out the water that has run through.
- Add the ground coffee beans to the coffee brewer. Make sure the water is still at the right temperature before moving on.
- Slowly pour a small amount of water (just enough to wet the ground slightly) into the center of the coffee grounds.
- Let the coffee bloom for about 30 seconds before moving on to the next step.
- After the bloom is finished, pour the rest of the water directly into the center of the brewer; for this coffee brew, do not make circles with your pour.
- Let the water run through slightly and give the coffee brewer a few swirls to knock any coffee grounds of the brewers' wall.
- After all the water has run through, throw out the coffee filter and serve the coffee!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1
Have a look below at the photos I made while brewing the Geisha coffee:
Geisha coffee is known for its sweet and fruity flavor profile, floral aromas, and complex notes.
Coffee aficionados around the world praise the beans for their developed flavors in the coffee brewed from them. Although the price can be a bit steep, it’s well worth the price to try a cup of Geisha coffee if you get the chance.
If you can find a cafe or coffee shop that serves it by the cup, you may be able to try it for cheaper than making it at home. Even still, brewing the stuff yourself will give you ultimate control over how pronounced the flavors are.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to fire away in the comments section.