Romanticizing the Ironman Geisha


I got crazy panic when David Ruslie – the @borneobrewer on Twitter – shared the news that Campos Coffee is selling the most priced Ironman Geisha beans, and it’s as limited as 300 x 150 grams-a-jar only. I begged to just everyone I know (and don’t) who planned to travel from Sydney (or any other parts of Australia) to Jakarta (or any other parts of Indonesia) to bring me a jar of it. Thankfully, David could work magic to deliver them to me.

The Geisha is deemed the most exceptional coffee varietals in the world. The beans were said to be originated in the village of Gesha, Ethiopia, planted in 1950’s, and rediscovered in 2000. These days, Panama is the home for Geisha beans. And, winner of this year’s Best of Panama is farmer Robert Brenes with what he named as Ironman Geisha. Sydney’s Campos Coffee won the bid to acquire the precious beans, and tag them with a cool AU$100 a jar.

Related Post: The Hunt for a Perfect Cuppa

I finally hugged that jar of black gold on November 1, 2013, right on the day of Aeropress Competition in Jakarta’s own 1/15 Coffee. As an amateur home barista, I was quite determined to win the competition to feel competent to brew the Ironman Geisha at home, using my darling Porlex hand grinder and – of course – the Aeropress. Turned out I just made it to the semifinal, and lost all my confidence to the bottom of the sea.

Related Post: Menyeduh Kopi Pakai Aeropress

So, I handed the jar to Doddy Samsura – deservingly Indonesian Barista Champion 2013 – to Chemex the Ironman Geisha for us to share. Lucky bitches. With no calibrated, nor certified sensory, we sipped the precious liquid, and gave our best, and most pretentious nod, as if we could define the complex taste. “Yeah, it’s very clear, and flowery, and – oh! – I could find the tangerine flavour! And, it’s smooth. And, also with a tang of citrus …,” and so on. Are we talking about coffee here, or potpourri?

I came home not knowing the answer. Above all, the most important question was: Is it really worth it, or am I being tricked? I slept over those questions.


I woke up the next morning doing my Aeropress ritual, and decided to brew the Ironman Geisha. Fourteen grams of fine-to-medium-coarse ground coffee poured with twenty one grams of eighty eight Celcius degree of water, then stirred. Non-inverted style. After fourty five seconds, I stirred again, then pressed all the way directly to my Muji glass.

What did it taste like? I still could not define it without sounding like a perfume ad. Yet, one thing for sure: it did not taste like a mistake.

I brought my glass of Ironman Geisha to the small terrace of my shoe box up in the 23rd floor of the apartment building, and witnessed the beginning of a fine Saturday morning in Jakarta. The rays of morning sun reflected in the golden-brown liquid inside the glass. At the mid session when the temperature of the beverage hit the perfect note, I knew that the weekend would be a refreshing one. I finished the drink with one big gulp, and rushed to the pantry to brew another portion. Man! How could I ever doubt it? How could I ever question coffee? How could I ever doubt Ironman Geisha?!


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