The Geisha variety’s unlikely origin story begins somewhere close to the town of Gesha in remote western Ethiopia. Coffee berries were picked and transported to Kenya, then to Uganda and Tanzania, and finally across the ocean to the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica where attempts to cultivate the trees earnestly began in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Planting there, and shortly thereafter in Panama, was largely abandoned due to low productivity and poor quality. It’s generally accepted today that the variety is fickle, and that its best attributes are highlighted by a combination of elevation, rainfall, soil and nutrient composition, and a myriad of other environmental and horticultural factors. It seems apparent that either early trials lacked the necessary conditions to produce the sweet, floral attributes now recognizably associated with Geisha, or that those attributes simply weren’t valued the way they are today.
This particular Geisha, from Cerro Azul in Valle del Cauca, exhibits the expected longberry seed type and is dried precisely. Surprisingly, the density is very average-looking, despite the high elevation, which makes me wonder if the shape of the seeds affects the way it settles in the graduated cylinder. As with all long shaped type seeds, the risk of tipping in the roaster are an ever present danger and care should be taken to apply heat evenly when roasting.