top of page

Panama: Where “Geisha Coffee” Gains its Reputation

Updated: Aug 25, 2020


Panama is located in the southern part of Central American connecting Atlantic and Pacific ocean. The unique environment and weather attracted many Europeans to move there. Panama starts its coffee journey from the 19th century with European immigrants. Due to the special microclimate with Volcanic soil creates a unique environment for coffee. The most famous region is in the north west area, Boquete. Those European immigrants bring technologies as well funding for coffee industries. In 1996 Panama coffee farmers got together to found the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama to share the information to help each coffee farm promote its coffee. Although annual coffee production in Panama is much lower than other main coffee exporters, Panama is the pioneer of specialty coffee, the coffee output value in much higher than other countries.

Geisha vs. the Peterson Family

In 2004 the coffee varietal, Geisha, “re-discovered” in Esmeralda farm owned by The Peterson family. By separately sampling different varieties on Jaramillo farm, they found this coffee with superior taste and won the Best of Panama competition. Since then Geisha has been spread over the Panama coffee farms as well as other countries. As we mentioned last month, Cafe Granja La Esperanza even rented a coffee farm close to Esmeralda to learn how to plant Geisha. Now in the market, if your coffee is Geisha variety, normally you can claim a much more premium price. In 2017 the Best of Panama coffee auction, Esmeralda Geisha broke the record of their natural process Geisha with a price $601 per lb. Later on in 2019, Geisha from Elida coffee farm broke the record again with $1,029 per lb. Now we can see how attractive this low yield and high maintenance coffee varietal is.

2018 Panama Trip

Geisha has its unique fragrance, aroma with flora and tea-like flavor. In 2018, Belux Coffee Roasters visited the 3 most famous coffee farms in Panama which are Esmeralda, Elida and Kotowa. After building a reputation in Geisha, Esmeralda keeps winning several coffee competitions. They are good at applying advanced growing technologies as well as adjusting processes based on continuously cupping the coffee picked and processed. Elida owns the national reserved park with higher elevation than others. And now they focus more on natural process coffee. Kotowa is proud of their precise control in the coffee process and organic coffee planting.

Esmeralda Special Geisha

Belux Coffee Roasters built a relationship with Esmeralda farm from 2015. Every year we join Esmeralda coffee auctions and carry auction grade “Esmeralda Special Natural process” Geisha. This year we selected the “Noria” lot from 5 different samples. Noria 3SN is part of Esmeralda Special Reserve, an award-coffee collection, it is sold by direct trade with small quantities. This lot is planted in Jaramillo farm with 1662+ MASL, and it's a slow dry natural process. The taste notes are Jasmine, stone fruit and bergamot. This year, we found even brighter honey and citrus notes. We hope all geisha coffee lovers enjoy the lot we selected.

Pic 1: Jaramillo Farm

Pic 2: Morning mist in Boquete

Pic 3 & 4: Front of Hacienda La Esmeralda Coffee Estate

Pic 5 & 6: Geisha Coffee Processing in Esmeralda Coffee Estate

Pic 7 & 8: Cupping Geisha Coffees at Esmeralda Coffee Lab

Pic 9: In front of Jaramillo Farm with Rachel

Pic 10: 2019 SCA Coffee Expo in Boston

All pics taken by Belux Coffee Roasters

110 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page