Imagine you’re at a contemporary art auction. You’re watching similarly interesting items being sold when suddenly a very peculiar and unexpected piece sets itself apart. Everyone in the room is surprised and you watch the price go up the roof. That is a parallel to how the coffee world got to know the Geisha (or Gesha) varietal.
Originally from the Gori Gesha forest in Ethiopia, the seeds were taken to Costa Rica around the 1950s and from there to Panama. Hacienda la Esmeralda in Panama became one of the first to cultivate the beans outside Ethiopia and in 2004 introduced the beans at The Best of Panama coffee auction (which is like the Oscars for coffee).
The very distinctive flowery, fruit-like flavour blew the minds of the taste evaluators and made Geisha worldwide famous overnight. Subsequently, this varietal continued to score very high in the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) 100-point scoring system – always above 90.
Clearly, the origin of every Geisha influences its taste. Horizonte’s Geisha comes from Anserma, Colombia, cultivated at 1900m above sea level. Your cup will taste like jasmine, bergamot, and apricot with a delicate butter-like body.
Coffee farming in the Caldas region is quite spectacular. The plantations start at 1500m above sea level on extremely steep slopes (even for a Swiss). Hand-picking is still the only way to harvest in this region given the angle of the slopes.
Hermel lives with his wife Gloria Cristina and his son Alejandro. The house is typically built with lots of bamboo and painted with vibrant colours. Hermel is the son of coffee growers. His father was one of the founding members of Cooperativa de Caficultores. He’s truly proud of his coffee and his land and a true lover of the Colombian countryside.