This is from the world famous Hacienda La Esmerelda in Panama, and I nearly didn't stock it because it is an 'Esmeralda' but not an auction lot. I always thought it was a little cheap to buy an 'Esmeralda' this way and I didn't like the idea. However, I cupped it on a blind table and loved it. I also liked having a Panamanian coffee to offer people. It's a region that has under performed for me. In fact, I've tasted some very average coffees from Panama, so it as wonderful at last to have something from the country that I can be proud of in our range.
Hacienda La Esmeralda is a farm in the mountains of western Panama located on the slopes of Mount Barú, in the munciplaity of Boquete. This coffee is grown from 1,100m to 1, 250m above sea level with 134 hectors of land utilised in production. The beans are almost entirely of the Catuai varietal which comprises of approximately 70% of the crop.
Palmyra covers the areas we refer to as Santa Maria, Aguacate, Louvain and The Thatcher. It is what sustains close to one thousand Ngobe-Bugle pickers during harvest. The Ngobe-Bugle's are a nomad group, migrating to the highlands during the harvest period of November through to February. The nursery, with child care, is the cental hub of the community. It is from there that the pickers go to harvest and are able to leave their children cared for with food, teachers and supplies. This may seem an unusual thing to mention, but on most farms in Panama the Ngobe-Bugles do not have this option, and either take their infants with them to the fields, hanging them from a tree in a make-shift cradle under the sun and rain whilst the harvesting takes place, or, if the children are toddlers, they are often locked in the housing quarters. Doctors and dentists visit Palmyra on medical tours in order to improve the health of the people. Rice and beans are given regularly to the families to ensure proper nutrition for the pickers themselves. The children (and many times adults) are deparasitised. All children of school age are strongly encouraged to attend nearby schools.
In the cup you get really strong vanilla, with walnut and chocolate, just like a walnut whip. The vanilla lasts all the way through what is a delicious coffee. This one works very well in the espresso machine, and really well brewed.