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This year we selected the February 2017 harvest (the month of Carnaval) from the plot of the first Gesha planting – called Mario. This year’s harvest is very floral: elegant full notes of apricot, candied lemon and Earl Grey.
La Esmeralda is the breakout Gesha coffee “discovered” in 2004. It continues to produce exemplary quality. Because Boquete's rainy climate causes uneven ripening the coffee plants must be handpicked as many as fourteen times over three months to assure only ripe cherry. La Esmeralda’s great sweetness indicates real care in picking strictly ripe fruit.
The best lots of Hacienda La Esmeralda are auctioned each year. These lots are divided by farm section and by harvest date. Thus the oldest section planted with the unique Gesha coffee variety is call Mario, and since February is the month of Carnaval, the harvest from that month is called Mario Carnaval. The harvest from January (Enero) is Mario Enero.
La Esmeralda's Gesha variety coffee first appeared in 2004 when it won first place in the Best of Panama Competition, taking the international jury by storm. Gesha, an Arabica coffee variety exported from the wild forests of Ethiopia in 1931, was introduced into Central America in the 1950’s. It was a disappointment back then because its production was quite poor and so very little was grown. Then in 2004 the Petersons, owners of La Esmeralda, decided to change their coffee entry into the yearly Panama coffee competition, selecting only their Gesha variety instead of the blend of coffee varieties they had been offering up before. Gesha is now established as one of great varieties of Arabica.
La Esmeralda deserves great praise not only for the Peterson’s original vision but for how well crafted the coffee is. Quality continues to improve. La Esmeralda’s great sweetness indicates real care in picking strictly ripe fruit. Because Boquete's rainy climate causes uneven ripening the coffee plants must be handpicked as many as fourteen times over three months to assure only ripe cherry.
See George's tour of Panama