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.