Hacienda La Esmerelda

Rachel Peterson recently visited our Redondo Beach location for a meet and greet about her families farm 'Hacienda La Esmerelda'. She enjoyed our roast of her Panama Esmerelda Geisha Natural Private Collection. This will be available in store on rotation of our Geisha offering for Brubar.

In 2002, the son Daniel noticed that the coffee bushes in a particular valley produced coffee of a remarkable quality. These superior coffee beans were sold separately as Esmeralda Special. Though altitude presents challenges for growing and harvesting, it is up in the mountains of Boquete that the unique floral and citrus aromatics of geisha coffee shine brightest. Because of these unique circumstances, only fifty to hundred bags are produced a year. The 2017 crops from Hacienda La Esmeralda, an old coffee farm in Boquete, Panama and an exclusive crop with cupping scores of over 90 points. This coffee has held the record for being the most expensive coffee sold at an auction three times and Mike offered some of these exquisite beans as the 601 Experience. The same lot Todd Goldsworthy used to win the Brewers Cup in 2016. It offers the unique aroma of chocolate strawberries, with flavors of blackberries, sugar cane, and rose hips. Nectarine acidity, a juicy body, and the aftertaste of peach makes this complex cup of coffee one of the most unique and decadent roasts we've ever had. This unique coffee from the rare Geisha botanical coffee plant is produced in Panama and has won many awards and even called "God in a cup" by one of the jurors for the ‘Best of Panama’ 2017 competition.

Hacienda Esmeralda was awarded the Panama Cup during the Best of Panama 2019 awards ceremony for the second time -- most awards won in most categories! They have 5 coffees (2 washed geishas, 2 natural geishas and a washed Laurina in the auction Best of Panama Auction. We are offering Panama Esmerelda Geisha Natural Private Collection is for sale!!! Esmeralda Private Collection coffees exhibit the classic aromatics that have made people from all over the world fall in love with Geisha coffee: floral, fruity, high citric acidity, bold cup and juicy body. Every coffee in Hacienda La Esmeralda is picked at the absolute peak of ripeness, and this in combination with Esmeralda Private Collection’s high altitude leads to a sweet, bright, delicious cup.
During natural process, harvested coffee goes directly to the patio to be put to dry. The fruit of the cherry slowly dries out with the coffee bean itself still inside, infusing the bean with fruit and aromatic notes that carry through all the way to the cup. We let the cherry dry to an even level. Depending on the weather and the composition of the lot, the coffee will dry for 3 to 5 on the concrete patio (8 hours per day). After it has reached a sufficient dryness, we rotate the lot into one of our Guardiola driers for 72 hours to round out the drying process and prevent fermentation. After drying is complete, the coffee beans are mechanically separated from the remaining fruit material.
The Private Collection from Cañas Verdes, the Hacienda La Esmeralda is natural process, an old coffee farm in Boquete, Panama and an exclusive crop with cupping scores of over 90 points. This farm produced the most expensive coffee sold at an auction three times.
The farm jumps up from rolling hills on its lower part to steep 40 degree inclines higher up, making harvesting a manual and challenging affair. There had been coffee planted on the lower parts of the farm, as many as 15 different sub-varieties, little hybrids out of Costa Rica and Brazil, and in 1997 the Peterson family decided to plant higher up.
It is these high altitudes that really make the Geisha‚ bright, floral aromatics express themselves. With cooler temperatures and massive shade trees that have been standing for ages, it turns out that Jaramillo is the perfect place for this variety to have landed. To this day many of our top performing micro-lots of Geisha coffee come from little patches on the slopes of Jaramillo.
The lands that make up Hacienda La Esmeralda where first brought together as a single estate by a Swede named Hans Elliot in 1940. Esmeralda Private Collection is grown at Jaramillo, Quiel and Cañas Verdes farms at 1,600 – 1,800 masl. Esmeralda Private Collection is where to look for dependable, consistent Geisha coffee quality. Private Collection lots are made up of a blend of micro-lots from our Geisha producing farms, selected for the signature taste of high-altitude Geisha coffees. Cañas Verdes has a distinct three to four months dry season, but even then the air is cool. Half of Cañas Verdes and the Palmira is part of the original Peterson holdings purchased in 1967, with the land first dedicated to pasture of beef and, later, dairy cattle. There had been coffee grown in the area, with a few households up in this hard to reach region.
Swedish-American banker by the name of Rudolph A. Peterson (1904-2003) bought Hacienda La Esmeralda as a retirement venture. At the time, the land was predominantly pasture for beef cattle, with some small smatterings of coffee mixed in. By 1975 the Petersons had switched the farms over to dairy cattle which performed quite well and continues to make up half of Esmeralda’s farm land today. In the mid-80s, the family was looking to further diversify and coffee, with its rich production history in the Boquete region, was a perfect opportunity. Coffee had been growing on lands in and around Hacienda La Esmeralda since at least, 1890, and it was this huge reservoir of coffee knowledge and culture that helped the Petersons redevelop much of their land for coffee farming and even make their first coffee farm expansion at Palmira in 1988. Now, it bears mentioning that coffee at this time was almost exclusively an undifferentiated, mass-market, endeavor in Panama. It was not until the mid-1990s that some North American coffee buyers started talking about Specialty Coffee widely. In 1997 the Petersons purchased the land that became the Jaramillo Farm. This plot on the sides of Volcan Baru was selected specially for its high altitude, in hopes of developing higher scoring, livelier and more nuanced coffees. That said, it was only by serendipity that the famous Geisha coffee was planted on this farm, in a story you can read in-depth here. After the events of 2004 and Geisha’s official coming out at the Best of Panama Auction, much of the Peterson’s focus settled on developing an infrastructure to support superior lot separation, meticulous processing, and a healthy auction format. As auction prices grew and grew, so did the demand for experiments like Natural Processing, and for ever more specificity in lots.

Delivering on this infrastructure allowed Hacienda La Esmeralda to look to the future with confidence, and in 2007 the Petersons began a decade-long research project into coffee varieties. Over 400 different accessions (or sub-varieties) have been planted in the high altitudes of El Velo, Hacienda La Esmeralda’s newest farm. It was a happenstance of altitude and lot separation that discovered Geisha’s amazing flavors and aromatics. The hope is that by carefully planting a high altitude environment with many seeds, some from the same germbanks that originated Geisha, other interesting and exciting combinations of variety and microclimate may be found.


They restore the nutrients removed from our land through farming by applying only adequate and needed fertilizers in modest quantities. We reuse coffee pulp, as a source of fertilization and irrigation, by draining it out on the dairy pastures. Efforts are constantly made to maintain forest along watersheds and to respect the local fauna. This is the main reason why our coffee tree pruning is purposely timed both before and after our local bird nesting season. For energy efficiency matters, we use both hydroelectricity and sustainable wood burning to run our coffee mill.

They believe their business practices must always be such that our products will readily sell at a level which will keep everyone fed, clothed, educated and in good health. We strive, consistently, to produce a very high quality product that will generate the needed revenue to sustain people at the level described. At our farms, Geisha coffee pickers receive three times the average price paid for harvesting. In addition to that, in June, all harvesters receive a special bonus. We created a nursery where harvesters’ children, as well as mothers with infants, are taken care of and fed a hot meal while their parents or spouses are picking coffee. We also supply packages of rice and beans, or rice and sardines to every adult in the workers’ family. Children of the workers’ family with outstanding grades are entitled to a scholarship for both elementary and secondary school as well as a full scholarship for college education.

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