The ‘goddess of coffees’, from The Colombian Coffee Company
“For me, geisha coffee is the goddess of all coffees,” says Eduardo Florez, founder of The Colombian Coffee Company. “It is a very delicate plant, whose beans produce a beautiful coffee with a special type of acidity, which affects the structure as well as flavour notes.”
According to Eduardo, this acidity is one of the most valued properties in coffee. But it’s not the sharp acidity associated with something like a sour lemon—this is much more complex. “The most interesting thing about the geisha plant is that the type of acidity it produces varies much more than any other plant. This means the flavour will differ depending on the country or even the farm where it has grown,” he explains. “You may get notes of lemon, mandarin or pineapple—as with all coffees, this acidity does not always have a citrus flavour.”
But this extraordinary plant does not only show chameleon properties in terms of acidity—it performs the same magic with sweet notes. “This is what makes the geisha so very impressive: while some other coffee varieties can produce different sweet notes, none are anything like as varied as the geisha plant produces,” says Eduardo.
Banana, papaya and guanabana
“I have tasted geisha coffees with hints of banana, papaya and even a guanabana—a fruit that’s relatively unheard of in the UK, but is very popular in Colombia. Think of a fruit that’s like a cross between a mango and a banana. It has an incredible taste, beautifully sweet, and I can find those flavours in some geisha coffees. I think that is amazing.”
As with all arabica coffees (the parent plant of the geisha varietal), geisha coffee originated in Ethiopia, but has since been planted all around the world. All of the coffee that Eduardo sells comes from Colombian farms. The great thing for his customers is that the flavour of the coffee will be as varied as the farms he buys from. On his trips home to visit the farmers, there is always the chance he will discover a wonderful new flavour profile from a new geisha producer. “This means that there are subtle changes to what is available on the stall, and that is a lovely thing,” he says with a smile.
To appreciate the ‘goddess of all coffees’, this coffee connoisseur suggests making it using the filter method, as they do on the stall. “It is the best way to appreciate fine coffee. The filter paper absorbs some of the oils from the coffee, leaving you with a very clean taste. This allows you to really appreciate the different flavour notes within the beans,” this enthusiastic and enterprising coffee-lover says. “This is something that you will never get if you blend coffees.”
Wonderful new flavours
With real excitement, Eduardo adds: “For me, a well-made single origin coffee is the best way to appreciate the beautiful balance between acidity and the sweetness a great coffee has. The generous geisha plant has already brought wonderful new flavours to the world of coffee—and as more people grow it, it is only going to get better.”