About Panama Esmeralda Private Reserve Geisha
New crop arrived late July 2015, vacuum packaged.
Panama Esmeralda Private Reserve Geisha (formerly called Esmeralda Boquete Geisha) represents a great bargain in one of the world's most expensive and sought after coffees -Esmeralda Special - which is sold only through an privately held, international auction for roasters. Each year for the past several years, Hacienda Esmeralda has held a private auction of their prized Geisha varietal, each Esmeralda Special lot coming from a specific plot of land on their farm. Altogether there is not much coffee, only about 20,000 pounds, which must fill a big demand from all corners of the world (this may sound like a lot but is only half of one shipping container). Competition for the coffee is fierce and prices go very high. By the time the coffee reaches roasters around the world it is not uncommon for it to sell for more than $100 per pound or $5 to $7 when sold by the cup.
Fortunately, for the past few years Esmeralda has released their "second coffee", the 100% Panama Esmeralda Private Reserve Geisha. As in the wine world where the second wine of the very top chateaux are fabulous wines in their own right, still costly but a relative bargain. Lafite-Rothschild has its Lafite Rothschild Carruades de Lafite; Chateau Latour its Les Forts de Latour. These wines would be great in anyone's book, but they are withheld, often for a tiny detail, from being in the rarified top lot. The same holds true for Esmeralda Private Reserve Geisha. This is a wonderful coffee, exhibiting much of the same lovely jasmine, floral and lemony tones witnessed in the auction lots but at less than the price.
There is only a very limited supply of this coffee too. It comes from alll of the growing plots on the Hacienda Esmeralda farm which range in altitude from 1450 to 1800 meters (4750 to 5910 feet). At this price, Panama Esmeralda Private Reserve Geisha may not casually seem a bargain, but it is considerably less than half the price of its sibling and almost the same taste experience. We really feel that the Geisha varietal is well represented in this coffee and that you will thoroughly enjoy it.
Naturally, every detail of growing and processing has been done at the farm to produce this fine, washed coffee. The finished green beans just arrived at our roasting plant in vacuum packaging ready for us to take it the rest of the way in roasting it for you.
Cup Characteristics: Very lush and delicate sweet floral notes, especially Jasmine and coffee blossom, with pronounced lemon-lime citrus acidity. Generously fruit filled and light candy flavors. Soft, lush, refined and light chocolate mouthfeel. A coffee with obvious pedigree and extremely approachable.
Roasting Notes: Keep it light and we recommend pulling this roast just after first crack. Depending on the roaster you use and its controls, it it good to ramp up quickly. On a Behmor, this means P1. This will best preserve the delicate Geisha citrus and fruit flavors, which can be masked if roasted darker.
Barry (left) and Price Peterson, founder Hacienda Esmeralda
Panama coffee facts:
Population (2006): 1.3 million people
Coffee Production: 180,000 bags (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds - 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: 80,000 bags
Coffee Export: 100,000 bags
Cultivated Area: 26,000 Hectares (64,200 acres)
Harvests: October - February
Arabica Introduced: Arabica was imported from Costa Rica in 1820.
Specialty Coffee Regions: Boquete near Volcan Baru, Chiriqui.
Grades: Strictly Hard Bean (SHB), HB.
Farms: About 30,000 farms.
Botanical Varietals: Typica, Caturra, Gesha.
Panama is a rising star in the specialty coffee world. In the Boquete in particular, farmers are taking Arabica coffee cultivation to new levels and recent auctions of small, specialty lots have garnered record, if not silly, prices. Nonetheless, some of the coffee is excellent. Gesha, a varietal that stems from Ethiopia, has been grown here with good success, yet other cultivars noted above, can produce superb results.