About Panama Esmeralda Private Collection Geisha Natural
Panama Esmeralda Private Reserve Caņas Verdes Geisha represents a great bargain in one of the world's most expensive and sought after coffees -Esmeralda Special - which is sold only through a privately held international auction for professional 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 - this year's auction saw the least expensive lot sell for $168/lb.
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.
Hacienda Esmeralda is made up of several "farms" along the Volcan Baru: Palmira, Jaramillo, Caņas Verdes and El Velo. Specific lots from each of the farms are what sell at the private auction - Caņas Verdes is split up into 9 lots. This offering includes coffee from all nine lots, 100 percent Geisha Natural (the lower reaches of the farm also grow Catuai).
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.
- Grower: Price Peterson
- Farm: Hacienda Esmeralda
- Sub-Farm: Caņas Verdes
- Coffee Variety: Geisha
- Processing: Natural
Cup Characteristics: Fruity and sweetly floral. Layered flavors of jasmine and hibiscus. Flavors of orange, cherry, dried figs, prune. Natural processing was carefully done, making for mild fruit penetration. The result is a very sweet, balanced, elegant coffee that is both powerful and delicate all at once.
Roasting Notes: Keep it light and we recommend pulling this roast just after first crack. It's a little tougher with development of Naturals as beans are a bit drier and roasting quicker, so lower the heat a lot as you approach first crack. This will best preserve the delicate Geisha citrus and fruit flavors, which can be masked if roasted darker.
Panama coffee facts:
Population (2018): 4.1 million people
Coffee Production: 100,000 bags (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds - 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: 50,000 bags
Coffee Export: 50,000 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 and Volcan, near Volcan Baru, Chiriqui.
Grades: Strictly Hard Bean (SHB), HB.
Farms: About 30,000 farms.
Botanical Varietals: Typica, Caturra, Gesha, Catuai, Pacamara.
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.