Release #19: Hacienda La Esmeralda 2019 - Dry Process

    Hacienda la Esmeralda is the name of a renowned coffee estate in Boquete, Panama, owned and operated by the Peterson family. While the gesha variety is now widely cultivated throughout the coffee producing world, Esmeralda is the farm that put the variety on the map. The Esmeralda gesha has been a staple of Passenger’s menu since our inception, and we are incredibly proud to share two archival selections from the 2019 harvest as our final Freezer Friday release of 2021.

    Coffee is native to the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia, near the South Sudanese border. In the 1930s a seed collecting expedition was ordered by the Kenyan Director of Agriculture. The wild coffee forests of Ethiopia, being the birthplace of Arabica coffee, are rich in genetic diversity. The purpose of the expedition was to find coffee accessions that were appropriate for cultivation throughout the British Colonies. As cup profile (i.e. flavor) was of little-to-no consideration at the time, productivity and resistance to disease were the primary considerations when searching for appropriate varieties. Some coffee from the Gesha region of southwest Ethiopia made its way to Costa Rica via Tanzania and eventually ended up on the Petersons' farm in Panama.

    Nearly 75 years after that seed collecting expedition, the gesha variety was brought into the international spotlight during the 2004 Best of Panama competition when an entry from the Petersons was awarded first place and shattered previous auction records. It has remained in said spotlight since, enjoying over 15 years as the world’s pre-eminent specialty coffee variety.

    Beginning in 2018, Passenger started purchasing both wet and dry processed lots from Hacienda la Esmeralda. While the finest wet processed lots produced on this farm are elegant beyond compare and, further, the clearest expression of these famous plant genetics, our favorite dry processed lots exhibit sensory qualities that are equally memorable. The subtlety, florality, and nuance we love so much in the wet processed selections may not be present in the dry processed lots, but what we find instead are explosively fruity flavors and an incredible depth of sweetness.

    This dry processed selection from the 2019 harvest is a particularly spectacular “natural” from this famous farm. Vibrant mixed berry, creamy custard, and tropical fruit aromatics introduce an intensely fruited cup with juicy flavors of blackberry, raspberry, kiwi, and concord grape. As the coffee begins to cool, a pleasantly coating milk chocolate quality emerges and is beautifully complemented by a subtle jasmine note on the finish.

    Freezer Fridays

    The Freezer Friday archival release series provides a unique new opportunity to explore Passenger’s treasure trove of notable harvests from the past. As those familiar with our approach to green coffee preservation will already know, we have actively stored our green coffee in an off-site deep freeze facility since our start as a company, keeping the coffees that we purchase in pristine condition following arrival.

    While the majority of Reserve Lot coffees that we buy sell out within months of their first appearance on our menu, we have, since our start in 2014, saved small volumes of many of our most extraordinary coffees for future enjoyment. 

    Inspecting the harvest at Gesha Village Estates

    Selecting gems from the past at Passenger’s off-site freezer archive

    This year we will begin to make a few of these “greatest hits” available for purchase in extremely limited quantities. Each release will be announced through Social Media and limited to 1 per order.

    The archival lots that we will be releasing in this way are not only shining examples of plant genetics, terroir, and skilled processing, they also offer a unique nostalgic opportunity: to revisit our previous experiences with these coffees and acknowledge once again some of the true high-water marks of producers whose coffees we have been privileged to taste over the years.

    • 4.29.22 Release #23: Kanzu 2019

    • 3.10.22 Release #22: Worka Chelbessa 2020

    • 2.18.22 Release #21: German Córdoba 2018

    • 1.14.22 Release #20: Caballero Java 2019

    • 12.31.21 Release #19: Hacienda La Esmeralda 2019 - Dry Process

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