Hacienda La Esmeralda / by Steve Willingham

Hacienda La Esmeralda is made up of four farms in Boquete, Panama owned by the Petersons, a world famous family of coffee producers. This fame comes from the phenomenal quality of their geisha coffees with clear floral and fruit notes that make for an outstanding cup.

 Photo Courtesy of Hacienda La Esmeralda

Photo Courtesy of Hacienda La Esmeralda

A Brief History of Esmeralda

In 1967, Rudolph A. Peterson decided to retire and purchase a couple of farms from a fellow named Hans Elliot in Boquete, Panama. Back then, it was mostly cattle and eventually dairy. Coffee was there too; in fact, it had been growing there since 1890. It just wasn't a focus.

In the mid-1980's, the Peterson family decided to diversify by focusing on the coffee plantation. In 1988, they took a big step by expanding their farms to include Palmira. In 1997, they expanded again by purchasing Jaramillo, where they first planted the geisha variety in an attempt to battle a fungus, Mycena citricolor, also known as Ojo de Gallo or Rooster's Eye. When the variety showed resistance, they spread the plant to the highest elevations where they noticed the extreme flavors and sweetness. They began meticulously separating the lots of coffee in an attempt to find the absolute best coffee.

Then, in 2004, they shocked the coffee world. A coffee at the Best of Panama sold for a record $21 per pound! And that's the green coffee price! By the time it's exported, imported, and roasted, you're looking at $80+ per pound. This was the beginning of a craze that hasn't stopped yet. By 2007, it was selling for around $130 per pound, and back in July of this year, a natural processed geisha lot from Cañas Verdes brought in $601 per pound, setting yet another record. 

What's next?

The Petersons are constantly testing, learning, growing, and improving. The demand doesn't seem to be waning and neither does their passion. Right now, they're testing over 400 accessions (sub varieties) of coffee on their El Velo farm. Their constant dedication means we only have better and better coffee ahead of us.

 Photo Courtesy of Hacienda La Esmeralda

Photo Courtesy of Hacienda La Esmeralda

This weekend, we'll be featuring a blend of coffees from Cañas Verdes, Jaramillo, and El Velo roasted by our friends at Heart Roasters for $8 per cup. We hope you'll taste orange, vanilla, honey, and jasmine. And we hope you'll be as impressed as we are.

To read about the last time we featured a geisha coffee, check out this old blog post. And to get a cup of this, come by today or tomorrow!