Bringing a Rare Experimental Gesha to the United States

Bringing a Rare Experimental Gesha to the United States

November 15, 2017
Jeff Yang


There's been a lot of hype on Geshas lately and often times, the price and value of this heirloom variety just doesn’t add up. But when famed producer Ricardo Zelaya tells you that he's set aside a hectare of his estate for an experimental Malawi Gesha, you pay attention. We’ve worked with Zelaya in the past and his coffees have consistently delivered, which is why we’ve continued our relationship.


In 2014, our green buyer, Paul Haworth, visited the Santa Clara estate, where he saw the baby Gesha trees for himself. Three years later, we bought most of the first harvest as a way of saying we love the types of experiments Ricardo undertakes, we want to be a part of them, and we want them to continue. In Paul’s many conversations with him, it’s easy to see how Ricardo’s coffee sets ever-rising bars for the rest of the industry.


“Only 15 plants survived of the 500 that we planted.”

The Zelaya family has been producing coffee for over a century and Ricardo continues to push the edge of cultivation and processing. He popularized the greenhouse drying method, which combines African drying beds with vented greenhouses for better control over drying parameters. Here’s an excerpt from Ricardo on the origins of his Gesha plantation:

The seed was a gift from a friend; it was brought from Malawi. This is the reason why our Geisha cup is different from the majority of other Geishas’ grown in Central America (The Geisha from Panama). It was an old seed, so it was a bit of a challenge to make it germinate and to raise our nursery. Only 15 plants survived of the 500 that we planted. The survivors are the mother plants of our Geisha plantations… So far, we are very happy with this variety and its quality, and so are our customers who constantly express their love for it. The Malawi Geisha is definitely a little treasure of the farm!


We've only seen tiny batches of this coffee in Australia and Canada; as far as we know, we're the only roaster that carries this coffee in the United States. We'll be making V60 pour-overs at all of our six retail locations until we run out. You can also get your hands on 7 ounce bags of whole bean either in-store or online. Come find us and see what the fuss is about!