About Panama Esmeralda Porton Pascua Geisha auction lot
Auction lot from Panama's world famous Hacienda Esmeralda auction held June 27th. New crop arrived September 2017 in vacuum packaging.
This lot comes from the Porton section of the famed Esmeralda farm in Boquete, Panama. The coffee was purchased at the Hacienda Esmeralda Auction where coffees were sold for record high prices that shook the coffee world. The lowest priced coffee at the auction was sold for $45 a pound - the highest priced coffee went for a whopping $601! A total of 50 coffee lots were sold, each 300 pounds for a grand total of 15,000 pounds and not a bean sold for less than $45 a pound. Amazing.
Years ago Price Peterson, patriarch of Panama's Hacienda Esmeralda, brought a native Ethiopian seed variety called Geisha to the mountains of Panama. It was planted along with other experimental seedlings in an effort to discover what might grow well in their microclimate. A few years later when the first cherries were mature enough to taste a superstar was born! The geisha went on to break auction record after record, sought by coffee aficianados the world over.
In recent years, because of the very limited supply and extreme demand, Hacienda Esmeralda has an annual private auction where bidders from around the globe participate. Lots are divided by specific growing areas on the farm and/or period of harvest. Bidders cup all of the lots. Even though they are all grown from the same seed there are variations in flavor based on specific location, process, hours of sunlight, harvest, etc. Hacienda Esmeralda is unique in how they separate microlots from various properties and harvests as well as processing methods, thus offering an array of variations on their quintessential geisha varietal which has brought them worldwide fame.
Only a small portion was auctioned of this coffee which derives from one of the higher plots of Esmeralda property. This was our top pick of coffees offered by them for this year and it is grown at almost 1900 meters. We purchased this coffee through our Willoughby's Coffee & Tea division for $52 a pound at auction (plus importation and transportation fees) and most headed to Asia where Esmeralda geisha has a big and appreciative following who are willing to pay for it. Direct trade.
Hacienda Esmeralda is Rainforest Alliance certified for its stewardship of growing land. This coffee was harvested on April 2nd, 2017. There were several pickings of the Porton property, this one near Easter and thus named Pascua, the Spanish term for the holiday.
- Lot name: Porton Pascua
- Growing Region: Quiel
- Altitude: 1880 meters
- Varietal: Geisha
- Processing : Washed; all water used for milling this lot was recycled
Cup Characteristics: Pronounced floral flavors of jasmine and hibiscus. Sweet tropical fruit flavors of pineapple and mango. Complex, refined, delicate and unique.
Roasting Notes: Geisha coffees need to be treated with some delicacy during roasting. If you roast too dark you will lose much of the florality, too light and there will not be enough body. Instructions differ with roasting machine but after first crack is substantially underway reduce the heat to very low, even off if you roast in cast iron drum or something that retains a lot of heat. The object at this point in the roast is to allow the development time without adding to roast darkness. The roast should be completely over with no hint of second crack. This, of course, is our opinion and your own preference may differ.
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.