The legendary coffee varietal known as geisha has been keeping the specialty coffee world abuzz since its first introduction to the world stage in 2004, when it won the Best of Panama Competition. In the intervening 15 years, it has become the benchmark for coffee competitions and now, it is coming to café menus.
To introduce this clear and bright coffee to the community, The Grounds have decided to go back to where it all began. Although often associated with Panama, this varietal is in fact from the hills of southwestern Ethiopia, particularly the village of Gesha – no ‘i’. In partnership with Gesha Village Coffee Estate, on June 3, the dark evening that marked the beginning of winter was the start of The Grounds’ showcasing of this exceptional coffee.
Cupping a number of lots available for auction this year, attendees paid only $5 to taste some of the best coffee being produced in the world today. The estate where the coffees are grown was established in 2011 and sourced wild coffee varietals from the surrounding forest, where the varietal which came to be known as geisha was first found in the 1930s, as well as new varietals developed by researchers in Ethiopia. Shipped to Alexandria were samples of each lot in the 2019 auction, sourced from all over the farm and processed via natural, honey and washed methods.
Part of The Grounds’ series of cupping events, normally a cupping of this calibre would only be held in house, however this event allowed coffee enthusiasts to get a glimpse into how The Grounds selects its premium coffee beans. Accompanying the sounds of slurping, sniffing and gulping that came from the cupping table was Ethiopian finger food and a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, showcasing how coffee is enjoyed in its original home.
Giving the public a sense of how roasters select the coffees that they choose to include in their blends and showcase as a single origin, cupping events such as this allow everyone to get involved with the part art and part science of coffee curation. After deliberation among The Grounds team, the Gesha Village Oma Lot 86 will be available for purchase as whole beans, or served across The Grounds’ venues in about a month’s time.