Back in early March, I visited Hacienda La Esmeralda for the first time. I was very excited, I mean Esmeralda, it’s one of those farms that produce coffee that breaks the boundaries of our normal conception of what coffee can taste like.
I asked Rachel Peterson about their challenges the previous year and she mentioned two things, lack of space for drying coffee and uneven maturation.
The lack of space has been dealt with by building lots of raised beds. This combined with the mechanical dryers and patio can now sufficiently fit all their coffees. I was surprised to hear that one of the challenges they face, both in the fields and in drying is the strong winds. Occasionally the coffees can blow off from the raised beds and the patio. In the fields the young trees can be damaged when there are really strong gusts of wind, a challenge they have solved partly by building windbreakers.
I was so fortunate to spend some time with Price, Rachel's father. First, I had a lovely lunch with Rachel and her mum, dad, and brother.
We covered a lot of topics, some really relevant for our ambition to always strive for becoming more sustainable in terms of the social and environmental impact we as a company has. I had a lot of questions regarding their approach to environmental and social issues. It was clear and expected from the beginning that the conversation about social practices is very complex due to the huge differences between Danish and rural Panamanian conditions.
A side note to the lunch, I had coffee from the farm, milk and home-made ice cream, both from their own dairy. Priceless!
I also went on a nice trip with Price and Rachel in a 4-wheeler up to the nature reserve that is a part of their farm. It’s approx. 600 hectares of a wild preserve. They don’t grow any coffee up there, it’s a haven for wildlife and plants. Also, the university and local schools use it for educational purposes.
Driving through the farm is quite an experience. Almost 50% of their trees are Geisha and I’ve never seen so many in one place. They produce between 8-10 containers a year and taking into account that half is Geisha, that adds up to a lot. Only a few percents get to be Esmeralda special and the Mario 5 that we bought this year is one of the lots.
A huge thanks to Rachel, her family, and the rest of Hacienda La Esmeralda for giving me this amazing experience!
We have chosen a quite aggressive roast profile for this coffee with lots of energy to max out the aromas and some acidity. The high sweetness creates a really balanced coffee with florals, bergamot, and honey in the aromas.
Hope you enjoy and make sure to get a bag or cup as it always sells out within a few months.