Hacienda La Esmeralda
Hacienda La Esmeralda requires almost no introduction within the world of coffee. Starting mainly as a cattle farm in the mid 20th Century, in 2004 the Peterson family shook the coffee world by breaking the world record price for a lot of coffee, composed entirely of a newly re-discovered varietal - Geisha. In the years since, Esmeralda have continued to push boundaries, both for coffee quality and for price. Their yearly auction produces some of the most stunning coffees we have ever tasted, and is renowned for the high prices received, and for the difficulty of securing a specific lot.
Showcases the full aromatic potential of Esmeralda Geisha, backed up by a deep richness from the natural process.
The lost varietal
As seems fitting for a coffee produced at Hacienda La Esmeralda, this lot is 100% Geisha. Although Geisha shot to stardom thanks to Esmeralda in 2004, its story starts much earlier. A native Ethiopian varietal, Geisha was isolated by British researchers in the Gesha region of Ethiopia in the 1930’s, and thereafter studied at research stations in Kenya and Tanzania. It was much later introduced into Panama during an outbreak of leaf rust, due to observed resistance to the disease. The varietal was planted sporadically, blended into lots with other varietals, and mainly forgotten about until the Petersons cupped a small amount separately at their farm in 2004, and from there started the rise of Geisha within specialty coffee. The Geisha varietal, planted at high altitude and processed using a careful washed method, unveiled its crisp citrus and floral aromatics for the first time, and stunned coppers at that year’s Best of Panama auction. Nowadays Geisha lots, especially from Panama, have seen skyrocketing auction prices, starting from $21 dollars per pound in 2004, a record at the time, to a new high of $803/lb in 2018.
Grown on the Porton plot of Esmeralda’s El Velo farm.
This lot specifically comes from Esmeralda’s El Velo farm, and is processed as a natural. El Velo lies to the north of the town of Boquete, at about 1750 masl. Due to the incredible traceability and separation that Esmeralda are able to provide, we know that this lot was picked on the Porton lot of the farm on the 10th of March this year, and was dried over 9 days on patios. Esmeralda often use patios to dry microlots, as mechanical driers don’t provide the required level of accuracy when handling very small amounts of coffee. The ripe geisha cherries, sorted with Esmeralda’s trademark level of care and attention, are laid out in thin layers and turned often, leading to an even drying, but also a rather quick drying time. This results in a clean and balanced natural, not dominated by process flavours. A truly stunning example of Esmeralda Geisha, showcasing both the crisp white florals that we have come to treasure from the Geisha varietal, and an enhanced stone fruit richness from the careful natural process.
ProducerHacienda La Esmeralda
The natural, or dry process, is the traditional process, going back generations. When accomplished in a controlled and careful manner, dry processed coffees can produce flavour experiences not found in wet processed coffees, deep fruits and florals, normally with heavier mouthfeel and lower acidity. The cherries are first sorted, and then laid out on in thin layers (2-6 cm) on raised drying beds. These are almost always used for high quality naturals, as they aid airflow around the coffee as it dries, enabling more even drying.
It is very important that coffees are sorted very carefully early on in the drying process, as all of the cherries quickly turn dark brown, making it impossible to separate under and overripe cherries. The cherries are turned frequently to avoid mold formation or over-fermentation, until they reach a moisture content of below 20%, and the outer cherry layer shrinks and blackens. This process takes between 2 and 4 weeks, depending on weather conditions.