On a recent trip to Boquete, I asked a realtor friend where I could get a sample of the Geisha coffee that is grown in the area. I read that this particular coffee is so good that it sold at auction in 2010 for a record price of $170.20 per pound. The variety sold was from the plantation “Finca La Esmeralda” and was purchased by the Saza Coffee Company, who picked up all 20 available lots at that astronomical price. I just had to find out for myself what all the hype was about!
I was directed to the nearby Ruiz Coffee House, and on the way there I thought of my favorite Peaberry Kona coffee from Hawaii with its smooth and positively unbeatable taste. Growing up in Hawaii may have made me a bit biased going into this endeavor. I was sure the Geisha would be alright, but nothing could beat my long time favorite, and everyone knows Kona coffee is the best….right?
So, we pull up to this quaint little coffee shop and walk inside. Then came my first pleasant surprise – they offered me a “flight” of coffee. That’s right, just like you might get when sampling wines or beers. How cool is that? I chose a selection of 3 different flavors, including what they called the Gesha, and went out to the comfy little outdoor patio to prepare for the test. The coffee was brewed when ordered and served on a tray in 2 oz porcelain cups with a description of each coffee on a card under its cup.
I started with the boldest flavor. Dark and tasty, but it was nothing to write home about. The next flavor was equally nice but not anything special in my book. Then, I drank a bit of water to clear my palate, took a deep breath, and tasted the Gesha. It was absolutely smooth and mellow; not the least bit bitter. I personally like low acid and rather light coffees. I was taken aback for a moment. This was the BEST coffee I had ever tasted and it is grown right here in Panama. Why had I never heard of it? This coffee was so good that I was happy to pay $40 a pound to bring some home with me!
If you like a good cup of coffee, you must stop in Boquete on your next trip to Panama. There are many coffee-tasting tours available with experts that can educate you on the complexities of aroma and body. Or, just stop by Ruiz and order your own ‘flight’. I’d love to hear how you think Gesha stacks up with your current favorite cup o’ Joe.