On Geisha -- Over Valued?

Love this new blog post by James Hoffman. Would love to see some of the discussion of it. I think I’ve sampled about a dozen Panama Geishas trying to understand why third wave coffee values it so much, assuming my lack of understanding was just the lack of being a Q-grader or something. This post seems to validate my experience: maybe these coffees are not quite as tasty as we’ve hyped them to be.


“Personally I’ve struggled to enjoy just about every lot of Geisha I’ve ever cupped and consumed. I’ve never had that “a-ha!” moment, it has never seemed revelatory to me. I think that many people roast to maximise a floral characteristic that leads to a heady cup that is great on the cupping table but I’m unable to finish a cup because it lacks real sweetness, and the astringency is just wearing me down. I’ll never say never – I would never refuse to buy or drink a coffee because it was Geisha, but I must confess I often feel disconnected from the excitement that surrounds it.”

Brandywine just sent out a Geisha from Costa Rica, and I’ve tried to brew it a few different ways with very little success. I’m getting a lot of raisin flavors, but the astringency is a killer. On the contrary I cupped this one Geisha that Intelligentsia had a while back that was just absolutely spectacular.

Most of the time it’s pretty “meh”. But there are certainly some Geshas that -when roasted well- are obviously superior. That said, I’ve had Kenyans for 1/5th the price that are just as good or better!

Gesha rather underwhelming, however, there was “that one time” at Klatch where a Panama gesha was transcendent to use a big word. Unbelievable complexity all the way down to room temperature.

But… the operative phrase is “that one time”. Otherwise…

I had a geisha from La Colombe that was pretty spectacular. Complexity for days. Simply beautiful. Haven’t had a chance to roast any myself, but I think that more often than not the hype/marketing that surrounds a coffee is just that. There are plenty of reasonably priced coffees that shine equally well.