European immigrants first brought coffee to Panama in the 19th century, approximately 50 years after the country gained independence from Spain. The microclimates of the coffee-growing regions are distinguished by their soil quality and altitude, all having ample fresh water for processing.
A popular destination for Europeans and North Americans due to the tropical climate, beautiful scenery and relatively stable political and economic environment, the high demand for real estate and national labor and wage regulations have established Panamanian coffee among the most expensive to produce. However, the mild profile and nutty characteristics of the coffees remain popular and provide a contrast to the more acidic coffee of other Central American regions.
In 2004 the Peterson family, owners of the Hacienda La Esmeralda estate, separated the Geisha cherries from their estate and entered them into the Taste of Panama competition with wild success. Having caught the attention of the specialty-coffee world, Geisha lots from the Peterson's estate were fetching upwards of $140/lb for green coffee at private auctions.
Attempting to replicate the success of the Esmeralda estate, other Panamanian producers have looked to isolate their varieties, and to plant Geisha trees in place of Caturra and Bourbon.
Boquete, Renacimiento, Volcán
Catuai, Caturra, Geisha, Mundo Novo
November – March