One of the most beautiful parts of being in the coffee industry is the magic and mystery that surrounds so much coffee history. And while we will never know if Kaldi’s goats really danced, we might be closer to finding out the truth behind coffee’s other great legend: the origin of the Geisha varietal.
Willem Boot, whose coffee expertise is recognized internationally, has been working with Dr. Sarada Krishnan of the Denver Botanic Gardens to determine the exact location of the Geisha varietal’s origin, and they think they’ve now found an answer: it’s a remote Ethiopian forest that has escaped the rampant deforestation of the region. From a press release issued by Boot Coffee Consulting: The objective of the research was to find the “mother source” of this unique coffee variety. Geisha has been breaking price records since 2004 and appears to be resistant against Coffee Leaf Rust.
“There has never been a coffee variety with the exotic and unparalleled taste of Geisha,” says Boot. “The flavor profile features a delicate floral aroma with notes of jasmine and rose, followed by an intense sweetness supporting an array of fruit notes (papaya, berries and currants).”
The research was conducted by comparing the DNA from Panama Geisha beans with beans from a forest near the town of Gesha, Ethiopia. “Ongoing research will focus on identifying possible resistance of these Ethiopian genotypes against Coffee Leaf Rustwith the aim of developing future breeding programs for the creation of super quality rust resistant coffee varieties,” says Krishnan, citing the epidemic that has resulted in a loss of 40% of coffee crops in Central and South America in the past year alone.
PHOTOS FROM THE RESEARCH PROCESS