Likely Origin Of Geisha Coffee In Remote Ethiopian Forest

AMSTERDAM – Genetic research by Dr. Sarada Krishnan, Denver Botanic Gardens, shows that the likely origin of Panama Geisha coffee is in a remote Ethiopian forest that has escaped the rampant deforestation in the region. The objective of the research, initiated by consultant Willem Boot, 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.


Stellar Flavor Profiles

Willem Boot: “There has never been a coffee variety with the exotic and unparalleled taste of Geisha. 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).” When Willem Boot first tasted Geisha as a judge during the first public Geisha cupping session, he was blown away by this flavor profile. The experience inspired him to launch his efforts to discover the origins of the Geisha variety by organizing various expeditions to western Ethiopia.


Genetic Study

The study was done by comparing the DNA from Panama Geisha coffee beans with coffee beans selected from a forest near the town of Gesha, Ethiopia. Dr. Sarada Krishnan: “Ongoing research will focus on identifying possible resistance of these Ethiopian genotypes against Coffee Leaf Rust with the aim of developing future breeding programs for the creation of super quality rust resistant coffee varieties.” Coffee rust has been causing unparalleled damage to coffee farms in Central and South America destroying up to 40% of crops.


Dr. Sarada Krishnan is Director of Horticulture at Denver Botanic Gardens with many years of experience in fundamental coffee research.

Willem Boot is the founder of Boot Coffee, Mill Valley CA, an international consulting firm for the coffee industry.

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