Geisha

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!

Colombia Manantiales del Frontino Geisha by Steve Willingham

We just received a new batch of coffee from Novel Coffee Roasters. The Colombia Manantiales del Frontino Geisha is a particularly exciting coffee. You guys may remember the Geisha (or Gesha) varietal from a special we did earlier this year. These coffees are really special, and I'm particularly excited to have one from Novel, one of our favorite roasters. Here's what Kevin Betts has to say about it:

Photo courtesy of Novel Coffee

Photo courtesy of Novel Coffee

Manantiales del Frontino boasts 170 hectares of dense, native forests and mountain streams that provide rich nutrients to its soil and thriving coffee trees. Farm owner Andres Felipe Londoño grows his Gesha variety coffee on only 10% of his farm, intentionally chosen for its nearby pine trees that provide shade and temperature control. Also cultivated here is a strong conviction for ripe cherry selection and perfect processing, all which contribute to the amazing clarity and incredible sweetness in the cup. Champagne-like acidity dances on the tongue and flavors of elderflower and mango are vivid and unforgettable. These attributes led this coffee to score higher on our cupping table than any other coffee we've carried this year!

 

This coffee will only be available temporarily. We'll have a few 6oz canisters for $25 and we'll feature it on the Chemex bar this weekend, but we have a very limited quantity. Don't wait until next week to get this coffee!

Finca Santuario - Red Bourbon and Geisha by Steve Willingham

We're stoked about two special coffees we're going to have on bar this Saturday. In past years, I've been a big fan of the coffees I've had from Camilo Marizalde's Finca Santuario in Cauca, Colombia. This year, Intelligentsia Coffee has two varieties from that farm, Red Bourbon and Geisha, and we are super excited to bring them to Oklahoma City.

Finca Santuario. Photo courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee.

Finca Santuario. Photo courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee.

Just to be clear, when we talk about varieties, we're talking about the sub-species of the plant coffea arabica. The variety a farm chooses to plant has an impact on the taste, yield, and disease tolerance their trees will have. Red Bourbon is a favorite in the coffee world because it is a robust plant, with a really high yield, and it can produce a delicious, balanced coffee with great body and sweetness.  

Geisha, however, is much harder to grow, so you won't see it around as often. Geisha is sort of a high risk-high reward variety. It gained popularity back in 2004 when a Geisha yielded a high price at the Best of Panama auction due to just absolutely crazy flavors, intense floral aroma, and tropical fruit acidity. Since then, demand has increased greatly. Farms have tried to meet the demand, but it doesn't always work out. Starting a new plantation of trees can be costly and takes years to produce enough fruit for harvesting, and since Geisha needs a very particular climate, there's no guarantee the plants will thrive in the conditions of the farm. While it comes at great cost and risk to the farmer to grow, the green coffee has been known to sell at upwards of $100 per pound in certain auctions because the flavors are spectacular.

Geisha at Finca Santuario. Photo courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee.

Geisha at Finca Santuario. Photo courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee.

Finca Santuario first planted Geisha trees eight years ago and have watched closely as they've improved the cup quality. Tomorrow, we're going to see exactly what difference that makes. Try a cup of Red Bourbon for $4 and Geisha for $8. The Red Bourbon is also available in 12 ounce bags for $20.75.

In the Red Bourbon, look for papaya, cherry, and toffee; in the Geisha, look for lots of floral notes, peach, plum, and maple syrup.