The excitement level at the roasting facility always rises Esmeralda Cuppingwhen we receive a large, white envelope (or box) filled to the brim with green coffee samples.  This white envelope represents a great potential; it represents the great potential for amazing coffee.  Needless to say, when said white envelope arrived from Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panama, a low buzz resonated among the staff.  “When are we going to cup the samples?  When is the auction?  How are these coffees going to compare to last year?  How will the newer harvest areas compare to the traditional Esmeralda Special areas?” 

 

For those of you who are unaware of the significance of samples from Hacienda La Esmeralda, let me fill you in on a little bit of the back-story.  In 1996 the Peterson Family bought a coffee farm in the Jaramillo region of Panama.  They knew that the farm contained many different varietals and that it produced an overall good quality cup.  In 2002, GeishaDaniel Peterson had the idea that the overall “good” quality of the cup might be due to one spectacular variety of coffee or area of the farm bringing up the overall quality of the cup.  That year, Daniel went around cupping the coffee from different sections of the farm.  Much to his excitement, he discovered that one section of the farm, and specifically one special varietal, produced an amazing cup.  This special varietal was an Ethiopian varietal called Geisha.  When the Peterson’s entered their Geisha coffee into the 2004 Best of Panama competition, the judges were stunned.  That year it sold for record prices, topping $20 a pound green.   The buzz around this coffee did not stop after that year.  It continued to win ALL the possible awards in the specialty industry, distinguishing itself as one of the best coffees in the world.  Just last year, the top lot sold for another mind blowing record price of $130 a pound green.  We have been fortunate to purchase this coffee for years, and this year we are looking forward to another great crop.

 

Back to the samples…  During the last 2 years, the Petersons have withheld their Esmeralda Special from the Best of Panama competition in order to give other farmers a chance.  Instead of using the Best of Panama competition and auction to sell their coffee, they have created their own auction system, dividing their Geisha variety coffee into separate batches that represent different parts of the farm, different altitudes and different harvest times. 

 

Last week, we roasted and cupped this year’s Esmeralda Special harvest samples, and we were blown Cherriesaway.  We do not want to give away too many specifics, but we were very happy with this year’s harvest.  Most of the batches that we cupped were bursting with flavor.  There were beautiful floral notes abounding.  Strawberry, bright orange citrus and peach highlight these coffees.  It looks like we will have another year of astounding Esmeralda SpecialThe auction is coming soon, May 19th, and we will keep you updated about which batches we purchase and when we expect them to arrive.  If you would like to watch the auction live, go to http://coffee.stoneworks.com/auction/index.cfm on May 19th.

 

You can also learn more about this coffee by visiting their website, here.