New crop due this July
The Petersons used last year's Esmeralda profits almost exclusively for their coffee. Most of the money went on improvement of farm equipment and farm soils, so as to grow even better beans than before.
AND IT SHOWS IN THIS YEARS FLAVOR PROFILES!
After an intense three hours, the bidding in this year's Esmeralda Special Auction is finally over. Higher costs, better quality and the speed of the auction led to a nail-biting three hour session where we barely dared to leave the computer for even one minute. Due to adverse growing conditions, Hacienda La Esmeralda had significantly less of their prized Geisha coffee this year. This scarcity helped contribute to an average price almost twice that of last year. Fortunately, the quality of the Geisha coffee this year will make up for the higher price.
After cupping the samples, we knew that we wanted at least two different lots from the auction. During our cupping sessions, we were simply astounded by one of these coffees, Mario Carnival (one of the two lots we purchased in this year's auction). This coffee jumped off the table from the very beginning. The aroma was stellar, with bright notes of sparkling ruby red grapefruit and sugar cane. In the cup, we immediately tasted the sparkling ruby red grapefruit acidity, but it was combined with the sweetness of a dead ripe strawberry and an incredible depth. This combination of flavors and depth created the best cup of coffee we have had in years!
The second lot we won in the auction is Mario Pascua, our second favorite batch. This beautiful coffee had an intense aroma of deep red fruit and jasmine. In the cup, it was incredibly clean, with notes of sweet cherry, grapefruit and jasmine. It will be a cup that is sure to "wow" even the most discerning coffee lover.
NOTES FROM HACIENDA LA ESMERALDA - FIRST HAND ACCOUNT
May 20th, 2009
Jason Johnson, a PT’s Coffee’s employee, was visiting Hacienda La Esmeralda during the auction. Here is his first hand account:
I got up this morning at 6 am with nervous anticipation. Daniel was picking me up around 7 and then we were going to the farm to watch the auction. This year’s crop production was down because it was hit by some high winds, but there was also a new part of the farm that was producing enough to be sold as a separate lot for the first time, so there was a lot of excitement around that.
We got to the house and had a quick breakfast, then it was short walk to the office. The auction began at 8:30 a.m., and it was obvious that there was not going to be a repeat of last year’s marathon. People knew there wasn’t a lot of the Geisha, so no need to mess around. As we watched the screen Daniel told me how the auction worked. The Geisha was separated into 7 batches and those batches had various lots of 300 pounds, for a total of 47 lots or 14,100 pounds. As we watched the prices go up across the board, Daniel Peterson was very excited. In the next room all of the workers were talking excitedly in Spanish, and Rachel Peterson continued to message Daniel with things like “everything is above 20, unbelievable!!” The whole auction lasted for only a couple hours, but it must have seemed like years to the buyers. The low coffee received an incredible $24 a pound and the high was $117.50. After it was done, the family got together for lunch. Monday the staff had asked if there was going to be a bonus this year, the answer at lunch was… “Yes!”
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.
While you wait in eager anticipation of the new crop of Esmeralda Special, be sure to try out the current crop while it is still available! You can purchase a bag here!