Special Selection - Ricardo Zelaya Geisha

Santa Clara Estate, run by Ricardo Zelaya, a 4th generation coffee farmer, all started in 1908 when Ricardo’s great grandfather decided to start a career in the coffee industry. Santa Clara is located on the southern slopes of the Antigua Valley, which has some of the finest volcanic soils for the cultivation of specialty coffee.
The plantation is under a thorough shade control allowing the coffee trees to get the exact amount of sunlight needed to produce beautiful, aromatic coffees. The coffee is hand picked, processed and washed in a traditional mill with crystal clear water giving the beans a blue-green colour, and after this they are dried on a patio or on African Drying beds. 

12 years ago, Ricardo and his family first heard about the Geisha variety and were very intrigued by the hearing of its uniqueness and quality, and were gifted Geisha seeds from a friend, which started Santa Clara's Geisha plantation. The plantation is located,  between 1750-1850 masl, as this varietal grows best at high altitude. It is also the fastest variety to mature on the farm.

Of the 500 seeds they began with, and only 15 plants survived; with the right growing conditions these plants have helped create what is now 3 hectares of Geisha at Santa Clara. You will notice, as we did, that this Geisha has a slightly different profile from most other Geishas from Central America, this due to the fact that this coffee originates from Malawi, we love with this coffee for its delicate floral and citrus notes and clean cup and we hope you do too.

The Geisha variety gained world renown when it was discovered in Panama, after having been brought over, planted and essentially forgotten about. The name likely comes from a mistranslation, as the shipping manifest was uncovered and mentions it comes from Geisha Mountain, which doesn't exist on any map. As best as we can tell, the species likely comes from an area called Gesha, which is why you will see both names used. Ricardo uses the name Geisha for his variety and as he is the producer, we do as well. 

Info on Traceability 


Price paid to farmer: The farmer, Ricardo Zelaya has requested that we not share the purchase price of this coffee and would prefer to keep it private. Since it is a request made by the producer, we honour that request.  West Coast Coffee Traders has been working with Ricardo and his family for decades and are very supportive of their farm, and are almost like family. 

The coffee was purchased far above market price. Our importer, West Coast Coffee Traders paid a Farm Gate price, meaning our importer paid this amount directly to the farmer, picking up the coffee  at the "gate" to their farm and took care of milling the coffee and transporting it to the port. When coffee is typically purchased, the price you see listed doesn't all go to the farmer; often the mill, exporters and transportation companies will get paid first, cover their costs and then the money will get back to the farmer, often months later. 

There isn't always a lot of transparency about where the money goes, but often a farmer may only receive 50-75% of the price paid for a coffee after everyone else gets their share.


We applied  our standard mark up we use for all coffees, meaning even though this coffee is more expensive, we make the exact same amount as any other of our coffees; the price is based purely on what we paid for it. 

As with all of our Special Selection Coffees, we are adding an additional $00.50 to the price and then donating $1 from every purchase to the Portland Hotel Society who help support the residents of the Downtown East Side here in Vancouver. You can read more about their organization here: https://www.phs.ca/

Supporting our local community is as important to us as supporting the farmers. PHS does a lot of amazing work to help provide housing, healthcare, harm reduction and health promotion for some of the most vulnerable and under-served people in our community. 


A note on roast dates: 

Contrary to most coffee myths (based off old information), it's best not to use coffee that is too fresh. For espresso, we recommend using coffee between three days to four weeks old, while filter and drip coffee it's best if the beans are three weeks to twelve weeks from the date of roasting.

If you would like your coffee already rested, please let us know in the comment section of your order and we will do our best to fulfill your order with rested coffee, if we have it available. Please note that based on fluctuating order amounts, we won't always have rested coffee available at the time you order, and you are welcome to reach out to us to check on our inventory levels for rested coffee before ordering. 


Harken Coffee Roasting Company  - Special Selection, Ricardo Zelaya Geisha