Episode 39 on Monday the 10th of August 2009 Panama SHG La Esmeralda Estate, "Palmyra"

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.


  • 10 August 2009, 10:48 am

    Bren_D says:

    I thought it might have been the ‘mystery’ coffee, it looked and sounded familiar before the game was given away. Thanks again for sending it out.

    One of my favourite coffees of the year so far, a lovely, lovely drop :)

  • 10 August 2009, 4:22 pm

    Den says:

    Oh No – wanted to be first on the blog but Ben_D beat me cant believe its Monday once again.

    Walnut Whip my wifes favorite chocolate but she said, “No not Walnut Whip in coffee Urrrgh”

    Then again what does she know sounds delicious will order some see if she changes her mind lol :-P

  • 10 August 2009, 9:57 pm

    David Dunlop says:

    My mum had a serious craving for walnut whips while carrying me (lame excuse), so they are probably literally in my blood. Haven’t a subscription as yet so haven’t tried the Panama this evening, but was drinking your Lagoa Mundo Novo while watching which you say is a derivative varietal, and if this has the same nutty, cocoa finish then i will definately be ordering. Never had vanilla naturally in coffee, so intrigued to see how that goes. Enjoyed the new format, and detail on brewing/dosing. Great job, keep em coming.

  • 12 August 2009, 1:21 am


    Great info during the show – really liking the format.

  • 13 August 2009, 3:20 pm

    Roland says:

    I wasn’t sure about how to describe the coffee at all, until you said Walnut Whip. For me – absolutely dead on.

    Enjoying the coffee and the podcasts hugely – keep it coming :-D

  • 17 August 2009, 6:06 pm

    Malcolm Palmer says:

    We likee Panama coffee. Never had Panama before but we think that it’s the best coffee of the subscription so far.

    I’d like to hear more from you on why you choose a particular brewing method for a particular coffee. I’ve always been 100% espresso – cappuccino and would like to broaden my outlook but don’t really no where to start.

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