Discussion on Hacienda Esmeralda. Have you guys tried it?  Was it worth the price?


Greg

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In a word, "Yes!" Comparing it to any beverage of similar stature- be it wine, scotch, craft beer, etc- based solely on quality and not on gimmicks, Gesha Esmeralda Especial, and all lots from Hacienda Esmeralda is/are a bargain.

This is link to a blog post I wrote this past April (actual text below) after begging for a small selection of green which I roasted in our store -- We did half pounds for $41.95 and by the cup on siphon for $12.95, and it all sold out -- except a small amount that I kept for myself! Tasting notes refer to the 2009 crop. From all involved, word has been this years crop is phenomenal. Know what lot you are buying, and enjoy.

"It's been two hours since I've had my second cup of Panama Gesha Esmeralda, and the flavors are still lingering on my palate like morning dew on a blade of grass."
I've tasted Gesha cultivar a few years ago in a wonderful "Don Pachi" from Stumptown, but this is the first batch of Gesha from the wonderful Hacienda Esmeralda that I have roasted myself.

Today I've tested two cups of this coffee on the siphon, and this transcends every coffee I've had up to this point.

First what hits you is the aromatics, they playfully coax your senses where you can almost feel the texture in your mouth before it touches your lips. As it cools to drinking temperature you get a sense of what you are about to have.

First is the silky smooth mouthfeel and sweet berry notes. Careful to take only sips so you can decipher the blueberry from the raspberry and strawberry. In the middle of nowhere a sweet jasmine note leaps out. As the cup cools some notes are sweeter and brighter and some are round and fruity. Some flavors nestle on licorice. Some flavors mingle on berries. Others playfully dance about your mouth with cautious merriment. Red currant. Strawberry. Soft jammy blueberry layered on sweet jasmine. As it leaves my mouth the sweetness lingers, the flavors hide in my cheeks only to reveal themselves minutes later.

The last sip. blueberry, strawberry, jasmine. Both separate and together. Smoothness. Gentleness. Sweet and sublime perfection."
"The last sip. blueberry, strawberry, jasmine. Both separate and together. Smoothness. Gentleness. Sweet and sublime perfection."


On a side note i did notice the last sip, being much cooler, was almost like getting a swig of undesolved sugar (slight exaggeration) because it was so sweet!
1.) yes
2.) no

It's good but not THAT good.
The answer really is: "it depends" - depends on your taste preferences.

Some people will love it and pay nearly any price for it. Others will not. Personally speaking, I'm still not sure about it. Six years ago, when it first hit the market, it was an amazing coffee. However, it was probably "amazing" more due to the fact that it was so very different than any central American coffee on the market than anything else.

Since that time, Hacienda Esmeralda has capitalized on that reputation. The quality has always been very good but the prices seemed very speculative and more driven by the "who has the biggest balls" syndrome than any real indication of quality. All of this has been good for the Esmeralda brand because it now can set almost any price it wants for the other lots it offers.

That said, the truth of whether or not it is worth it is up to you. Is it a coffee you like enough to pay the price?

Compare to wine. A bottle of Seghesio blue label Zinfandel 2008 will cost you around $40 - but if you hate the big fruity character then it's worthless. A bottle of Chateau de Beaucastel will set you back $125. Conversely, if you're not a fan of Chateauneuf-du-Pape then again, it's not worth the expense.

Both of these are very enjoyable wines that are loved by many and disliked by others. To some, it's worth the price (to me they are), but to others not so much.

Same applies to the Esmeralda.
The way I see it, if you really enjoy coffee, then buying a bag of it, is of no real consequence. Because, if you like it, great. But if you don't, then you didn't lose too much of an investment, and you learned a lot about coffee. Which to me, is worth it. So it's really win-win. And if you don't like it, yet feel burned by the price tag, offer it to your favorite local barista. I'm sure they'll hook you up with a few drinks for being the thoughtful, amazing customer that gave them that "wonderful" coffee.
Good call!

Daniel King Pizzutti said:
The way I see it, if you really enjoy coffee, then buying a bag of it, is of no real consequence. Because, if you like it, great. But if you don't, then you didn't lose too much of an investment, and you learned a lot about coffee. Which to me, is worth it. So it's really win-win. And if you don't like it, yet feel burned by the price tag, offer it to your favorite local barista. I'm sure they'll hook you up with a few drinks for being the thoughtful, amazing customer that gave them that "wonderful" coffee.
Try it. If you like it, it's worth the price. Or lets see, is it down to how much do I like it? Do I buy toothpaste? Deodorant ? Or a bag of coffee? I can do without most things in this world (for awhile) but good coffee? Not likely.
JoeR
Kevin Ayers said:

It's good but not THAT good.

^^ Exactly. There are just way too many SO's out there to play around with and find which ones work and which ones don't - and there are plenty that work... real well for a lot less. A good analogy is when your coffee shop offers a small batch of Blue Mountain or Kona. They're both $$ and make pretty good espresso, but I'd still take Mexican Pluma Tres de Oros or Ethiopian Yirgacheffe over any of them any day of the week.
I would have a couple of questions for Kevin and Jeff,

1. Have you had it?

2. How was it brewed?

3. If Yes, what lot (year, designation) and roasted by who?

There are plenty of coffees that work real well for less, but working "real well" isn't the same. And even mentioning JBM or Kona in the same breath is ridiculous. Good balanced coffees, but a lot based on history, location rather than aromatics, complexity, sweetness, taste, mouthfeel, etc. And in terms of aromatics, taste, and texture, it certainly is like no other coffee. Is Esmeralda Gesha the be all end all of coffee? Certainly not, but provided it has been roasted correctly, I would say it "lives up to the hype."

What are the "be all end all" of craft beers? Spanish wines? Sake? I may or may not agree, but I will enjoy finding out.
@John P

1 Yes
2 Pourover, Aeropress, Chemex, and French Press
3 From 2008 (whatever the most expensive one was, I think he paid $80 for 8oz), Roasted by Stumptown. Also 2009 being served at Coffee fest Chicago (can't remember what booth, maybe PT's)

To me it's about the price, just too much money for coffee, PERIOD. Since you insist on comparing it with beers and other beverages, I must say that paying $10 for a 6 pack of Twohearted, or $4.50 for a pint of Pliney the Elder (two of the best beers [IPA's anyway] in the world) is fine with me because it isn't THAT out of proportion with what you pay for garbage beer (still less than double the price of a 6 pack of *cringe* budweiser). I've had amazing coffees that were just a little more expensive (say $6-7 unroasted) that blew me away. The most I have paid for coffee? I believe it was $24 per lb for unroasted Aida's Grand Reserve from Sweet Marias. Was it the best coffee I have ever had? Maybe, but it was definitely worth it's almost triple the price of most stuff I buy. How much was that Geisha? 10x what I usually spend? Just too much to justify for me, but that's my opinion I guess.
I brewed the 2010 version roasted by Counter Culture. I probably wouldn't pay for it again, but I'll definitely attend a free cupping to try it next year!
Kevin Ayers said:
To me it's about the price, just too much money for coffee, PERIOD.

Absolutely. And that's why I brought up JBM and Kona... completely unrelated but the same thing in terms of their ridiculous going rates. Any coffee imo that nears fifty bucks for a 1/2 pound better have its bean somehow genetically crossed with the coca plant, know what I'm sayin? lol!

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