Costa Rica ARBAR Yellow Honey Geisha

Satsuma, pineapple juice, floral, passionfruit.

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The ARBAR micro-mill is owned by the Arrieta Barboza family: Carlos and Maria, and their four children. Their house is right next to their micro-mill, which is laid out immaculately. The drying beds, depulper, and nursery areas are around the edge of the house, with some of their more unusual varietals growing around and on the gentle rise which leads to a magnificent view of the Western Valley. We’ve been enjoying the fruits of their labour for five years now, and their labours are split between the Manatial and Oasis farms.

Before they sold to us, the ARBAR production was sold to a big cooperative. For that, it makes sense to grow tried-and-trusted coffee varieties like Caturra, Catuai, and Villa Sarchi. These are all proven to produce a good cup, and they're relatively resilient and don’t need to be spaced out too much.

When Carlos and his family started selling to us, it gave them a chance to try new things – our prices gave them a chance to take bigger risks. One of the ways they did this was by trying small plantings of new varietals (mostly planted around their house and mill).

By 2015 they had already planted some varietals that weren't so common in Costa Rica, including Bourbon, Kenya (SL28), and this one – Geisha. It can be a controversial varietal when found in Central America and, although growing in popularity, it's still impressively rare.

The coffee plant's low yielding, thin, and spindly branches mean it's open to the strong winds that are common at higher altitudes. Further, it's about as pest-friendly as a coffee tree comes (although resistant to leaf rust!), so you just don't get much production. But what you do get is pure WOW.

There has been talk recently of the name – Geisha vs Gesha – and we like to listen to the people that grew the coffee. On our bags from Carlos it says 'Geisha', so we go with 'Geisha'. In Carlos we trust!

This is the first production crop from the farm. It usually takes about three years for a coffee plant to get big enough to produce a crop, which is what you can taste here. It will have many more years of production ahead of it. It’s a hint, an exciting beginning, and if you try this coffee now then please, please come back at the start of next year to try the new crop and join us in seeing what this coffee becomes.

In the cup this reminds me of sweet satsumas, but with an edge of pineapple juice. The floral flavours are there, but they take a back seat to the fruit sweetness, which finishes on passion fruit.

  • Country: Costa Rica
  • Region: Western Valley
  • City: Lourdes de Naranjo
  • Farmer: Carlos Arrieta
  • Micro mill: ARBAR
  • Altitude: 1,600 m.a.s.l.
  • Varietal: Geisha
  • Processing system: Yellow Honey


Satsuma, pineapple juice, floral, passion fruit.

Clean cup: (1–8): 7
Sweetness: (18): 7
Acidity: (18): 6
Mouthfeel: (18): 6
Flavour: (18): 8
Aftertaste: (18): 6
Balance: (18): 6
Overall: (18): 7
Correction:(+36): +36

Total: (max. 100): 89

Roast Information
Medium – take this through first crack and then slow it down a little, but don't let it get near second!