This is a story about a great coffee. And also a story about the power of great relationships. It isn’t a short story, but some of them can’t be.
In the world of craft coffee, Gesha (or Geisha, but no relation to the other Geisha you’re thinking of) is one of the rarest and most highly valued coffee varietals. The Gesha plant originated in Ethiopia and was transported back in the day to Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Bolivia, Colombia and most likely a host of other places. In 2004, Gesha was ‘discovered’ and the accolades begin to roll in. And by “accolades” we mean this coffee is an award winner that delivers on the promise of both A) a delightful and nuanced drinking experience and B) a correspondingly high price.
Maybe you’re wondering how expensive a pound of coffee could be? In 2019, a pound of Gesha produced in Panama was sold at auction for $1,029. (DOMA’s will sell for a slightly lower price) Is the hype real? Depends. We’ve been told that taste is subjective. One thing is certain, though: people who appreciate a very nice coffee have shown up repeatedly, in the years since Gesha blew up, to purchase this extremely rare and delicious coffee.
So, how did DOMA come to be purveyors of such an unusual coffee offering? It starts, like many recent stories do, with the absolutely s#$% year we’ve been having. This was supposed to be a celebratory year for us. DOMA Coffee turned 20 years old in 2020. Cue the music, champagne, confetti, pie . . .except, that’s not how it went down, as you’re well aware. While the wheels were falling off the 2020 wagon, our friend Danny Perez of Family Bonds coffee farms in Guatemala was watching many of the buyers of his coffees cancel their orders. We’ve always been a company that likes to swim against the current, so instead of cancelling our orders, we went ahead and ordered extra coffee. This helped Danny a bit and so, as a thank you, he provided DOMA with a few batches of his own Gesha crop. It was one of those moments that make you go, wow, and just feel thankful for getting to know cool people like Danny.
We’ve always loved the Perez family’s work on their third-generation farms. They’ve innovated with incredible ingenuity and zest. An example? Danny’s farm is flat. He grows his coffees horizontally, rather than up-up-and-up like most coffee farms in his region of Guatemala. In the coffee world, this is definitely thinking outside of the box.
The Gesha coffee plant also has a special meaning to Danny. It’s a plant his family has grown a small parcel of, passing down seeds which eventually ended up in Danny’s hands. To Danny, Gesha coffee is about his farming heritage, his family legacy, and all the promise for the future.
We knew when the Gesha arrived that we had to do something special. We decided to give it the full DOMA treatment with our small-batch roasting, creative packaging, and incorporation of amazing local art. DOMA has always been about three principles: Coffee, Culture, and Meaning. With this coffee, we have an opportunity to offer a unique drinking experience. Our partnership with Family Bonds is a great representation of the value and meaning we place on our relationships with the people and locations that produce the coffees we roast. We wanted to finish the coffee with a design and package that was as unique and valuable as the beans themselves. The DOMA culture has always included love and support of our artist community. To produce a package up to the task of holding the Gesha, we turned to a local who is as passionate about his craft as Danny is about coffee. While Danny has saved and nurtured seeds from his family farm, Coeur d’Alene artist Jeff Weir has preserved his grandmother’s legacy of oil panting in his own modern-day works.
Each can of Gesha coffee will have a one-of-a-kind piece of art cut from an original 17’ x 5’ canvas painted by Jeff Weir. When you’re done enjoying the art on the can, simply peel and frame. You’ll get a custom coffee and a one-of-a-kind piece of art when you buy Gesha. Drink one, save the other.
All in all, this 2020 Gesha project has sent us back to our roots. We’re producing an extremely small run of these cans, about a hundred give or take a few; a number we used to make in the years when we were just getting started on our journey of roasting and meeting amazing people. And this truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This coffee has come to represent all of the things DOMA has ever done and will continue to do: partner with amazing artists, support small-scale and innovative farmers, create unique packaging, and—the foundation of it all—roast great coffee.
When you see a can of our Gesha coffee, we hope you’re inspired to do what matters and plant seeds for the future, just like the roaster, artist, and farmer behind it.