What is it about a Gesha?

For those of you who don't spend much of your free time reading about coffee, subscribing to coffee magazines, and generally trying to taste all the coffee you can, allow us a moment to explain what makes a Gesha so special. In Ethiopia, the veritable birthplace of coffee,  there are countless heirloom varietals. The name “Gesha” comes from the Gesha region in Ethiopia where some seeds of this varietal were first collected in 1936. As these plants were taken across the ocean to Central America, these new farmers selected and cultivated certain coffee trees suited to their specific climates and conditions. For many years the Gesha trees were mixed in with trees of other varietals and their beans were likewise blended together at origin to create regional offerings. Then in 2004, the Panamanian coffee estate Hacienda La Esmeralda entered a competition with an offering of 100% Gesha beans. It attracted a lot of attention for its distinctly aromatic, floral flavors and went on to set record prices. Since then a small number of farmers from throughout Central America have begun to select specifically for these beans. This painstaking process, low yield, and relative rarity of the Gesha varietal means that many farmers simply cannot offer Gesha-selected coffee at market.