Esmeralda Special is a rare award-winning coffee that has set several online coffee auction records, once when it sold for $21 dollars a pound in June 2004, again in May 2006 when it sold for $50.25 a pound, in May 2007 when it sold for $130 a pound, in May 2010 when it sold for $170 a pound, and in May 2013 when it was sold for $350.25 per pound at the Best of Panama Auction- Naturals Category. Other achievements are:
- 1st Place Specialty Coffee Association of America Roasters Guild Cupping Pavilion (2007, 2006, 2005)
- 2nd Place Coffee of The Year (2009, 2008)
- 1st Place “Best of Panama” (2015 Naturals Category, 2013 Naturals Category, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004)
- 1st Place Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality (2013, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004)
Esmeralda Special is sold both in the Esmeralda Special Auction and outside of the auction small quantities are sold by direct trade.
Price Peterson tells the story of the coffee and the farm where it grows:
“In 1996 we bought a coffee farm in Boquete, in the area known as Jaramillo. We had known for some time that the farm had good altitude (1450 to 1700 meters) and a nice slightly orange cup. It was an old farm with an interesting collection of coffee varieties planted by various owners over the years. We increased the plantings to about 60 hectares (part had been converted to a dairy) and basically ‘overhauled’ the farm. Much of the newer plantings did not come into production until the 03/04 harvest.
During the year 2002 it occurred to my son, Daniel, that perhaps the cup of this farm was not due to an overall goodness, but rather perhaps there was one area that was producing an exceptional cup and, when mixed together with the rest of the production, a generally ‘good’ cup resulted. He tested this notion by cupping coffees from all over the farm. Sure enough, there was one small valley at the high end of the farm which produced the extraordinary cup now known as ‘Esmeralda Special’ – and which was the coffee that sold at the extraordinary price. The coffee on the remainder of the farm remains quite good, but not the really knock-your-socks-off cup of the Esmeralda Special.”