From the moment I started working in coffee, Esmeralda La Hacienda has been a name I’ve equated with quality. It is highly recognized and appreciated amongst coffee roasters, and coffee lovers, the world over. It’s no secret that this clean and balanced coffee is one of the world’s best, so I was thrilled to have the chance to sit down and talk coffee with Rachel Peterson.
Interview with Rachel Peterson
What do you think makes Esmeralda outstanding?
I think that we put a lot of effort into producing the best coffee that we can, starting from the farms that we choose to plant the coffee on, the elevation that we use, how we protect the plants, how we take care of them, the agricultural practices that we use to the varieties, to cupping every single thing that we have and choosing what we think is the best to offer to our clients. Making sure that the quality control all the way from the beginning to the very, very end is kept in our hands. And that we do it the way we want to do it. I would say that consistency of trying to maintain quality in all of these aspects would perhaps be my best answer.
What is your biggest concern for the future of Esmeralda?
I don’t really have a big concern for the future of Esmeralda right now, but I think, so far as Esmeralda as a brand, maybe the concern is just that a lot of people are buying the coffee and then maybe selling more than what they actually bought under the brand name. Or I’ve found people that use our brand name that I’ve never sold to. Or that have our brand name on their website and they’ve never spoken to us and I don’t know who they are, so I guess in terms of brand it would be that. In terms of coffee, maybe diseases. Diseases we might not event know yet, or that haven’t arrived here yet, but that have been a big problem in other countries.
What´s your hope for the future of Esmeralda?
My hope for the future of Esmeralda… That we can continue to feel good about what we do, to feel like we are offering a very high quality product to all our customers and that our clients are pleased with what we are offering them. And that they are happy at the end of the day, that they bought what we offered them and they are proud of it. They are happy with it and they like it, that they love it.
I think people do! What are your thoughts about how to trade in the coffee industry?
Really to have it done as directly as how you are doing it for example. To have the buyers come here. I prefer them to come to taste everything, to see everything first hand, to know everything that we are doing. Not to have some person that has never been here before, never seen us and has no way of really understanding what it feels like to be here in Panama. I think that is an important part of the experience of this coffee. So I believe that it is important to have it Direct Trade, that is definitely the way I think coffee should be traded.
In a way, it is like when we sell our beans to smaller shops. We also want them to know the story behind the bean; they then become a spokesperson for our coffee.
And sometimes, eventually, it is people like them that will end up coming here. They are like,” I went there, I heard that…”
Exactly! It is an important chain. How do you brew your coffee at home?
It depends, if I’m in a hurry I brew it in a regular drip coffeemaker with a stainless steel thermos. I pour it into a stainless steal cup which I take with me all over the place. You saw…
Yep, I saw that. It’s a big cup…
Usually though, if I’m not at home or if I have more time I´ll either do a pour over, or I´ll do an Aeropress, which I like to do as well.
Which coffee do you drink?
I usually drink Geisha. I drink geisha from my farm, but I get a lot of gifts form different people, from different coffee roasters who will bring me coffees from different origins. And I drink all of those as well, so I drink several different kinds, but normally I drink Geisha from here.
Do you have a question you wish I would have asked?
I can’t think of anything.
Okay, thanks for a great interview!
All photos from Panama are available here on Flickr.