10th Anniversary Reserve: Hacienda La Esmeralda Natural, Panama
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Bold & silky, peach, violet, boozy
Akin to jasmine rice in appearance - flecked with orange from processing - these elongated beans are prone to 'tipping', adding a challenging dynamic to roasting.
Being a natural means a more measured approach is called for but one is greatly rewarded when successful: the most astounding aromatics contrasted by a delicate, silky body. Low charge, small batch size and a short profile are significant in allowing this coffee to shine.
Over the years, we've released a handful of 'reserve' coffees - unique gems that help showcase the diversity that exists within coffee, as well as the flavour potential that can be achieved when the stars align (and people work incredibly hard). Our first reserve, in 2011, was from Hacienda La Esmeralda. This is our third release from the farm; a worthy member of the triumvirate, and a nostalgic nod to a coffee that astounded us and many of our early supporters.
In 2004 Price Peterson and his family, owners of Hacienda La Esmeralda, created waves in the coffee community when one of their lots smashed the record for the most expensive coffee to ever be bought on auction. They'd discovered two types of of the Geisha variety on their farm a little while earlier - and luck had them pick the better one to focus on cultivating. Geisha coffee had been brought to Central America from Ethiopia in the 1950s, after being discovered by a British consul in the West Arsi region of Ethiopia. The reason it was selected was purely for its disease resistance properties. The consul was selecting seeds from trees that had withstood a severe coffee leaf rust disease outbreak; in fact, a botanist describing the cultivar at the time noted its 'very poor cup quality'.
We're thankful that fate had a long view, and brought this coffee to the worlds' attention again - this time when the distinctive, floral aromatics and delightful fruit notes it boasts are cup qualities that are lauded and saught after.