BeanScene Magazine

Geisha sets world record at Best of Panama for US$601 a pound

From the August 2017 issue.

An Esmeralda Geisha Cañas Verdes Natural from Facienda La Esmeralda was sold at the Best of Panama Specialty Coffee auction for a record price of US$601 per pound (or US$1324.96 per kilogram).

The bid surpassed the previous world record price for auction coffees of US$350.25 per pound, a title set by the same farm in 2014.

Jason Kew of Kew Specialty Coffee and Sydney Coffee Business, green bean importers based in Sydney and Hong Kong, along with Saza Coffee in Japan, bought the top-scoring natural-processed Geisha from the Peterson family.

The Peterson family are one of the top producers of Geisha coffee in the world. Their production of Geisha has won the Best of Panama competition in the Natural category six times.

After five hours and 270 bids, the winning offer from the Australian and Japanese companies reached a combined value of US$60,100.00, the highest price paid for any green coffee sold at auction.

“The Peterson family's commitment to quality in a consistent manner that maintains the heritage of Geisha is a true legacy for generations to cherish,” says Jason Kew of Kew Specialty Coffee and Sydney Coffee Business.

Only 628.22 kilograms of red ripe coffee cherries were harvested in the Montaña lot, located in the Cañas Verdes farm on 20 February 2017. These hand picked cherries were dried on a concrete patio for eight days until they reached the ideal humidity level of 10.5 per cent. After careful processing, only 68.04 kilograms of green coffee remained, just enough to be eligible for the Best of Panama competition.

The Esmeralda Cañas Verdes Natural placed first in the exotic naturals category of the Best of Panama Competition in May, earning a score of 94.115 out of 100. Hacienda La Esmeralda Producers Rachel and Daniel Peterson describe this coffee’s cupping notes as “floral, vibrant, jasmine, lychee, peach, pomarrosa, complex, bold, juicy”. 

“We are honored and humbled by this new record price of $601 per pound. This high price for coffee is an important breakthrough for ultra-specialty coffee farmers worldwide. We are very privileged and delighted to be the first producers to receive it,” Daniel says.

The 21st edition of the Best of Panama Auction was held on 18 July. Auction participants were able to bid for lots via the internet and in real-time. The auction of 51 lots included traditional washed, honey and natural, and exotic washed, honey and natural coffees.

The average lot price was sold for US$61.98 per pound. A total of 31 lots went to buyers from East and Southeast Asia. The remaining lots were won by buyers from Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States.

In total, nine winning lots were bought from Australian businesses.

Aroma Coffee in Sydney and Saza Coffee in Japan bought the second highest selling lot, a washed Geisha from Finca Sophia for US$254.80 per pound. 

These two roasters also bought a coffee from Finca La Mula for US$165 per pound, and a traditional Elias Sweet Natural for US$47.20 per pound.

Australia’s Campos Coffee bought four lots from the auction, including the number three and five-winning lots in the washed Geisha category, a Santamaria Geisha Lavado for $62.50 per pound, and an Esmeralda Geisha El Velo Washed for US$58.30 per pound.

Campos also bought the number three and five-winning lots in the Geisha Naturals, including the Santamaria Geisha Natural for $82.10 per pound, and Cantar Dorado Ruiseñor for US$87 per pound.

Seven Seeds bought 100 pounds of Mama Cata Geisha for US$52 per pound. 

The Best of Panama eAuction is a private online auction held by the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama. Each competing farm submits the best coffees they produce. Competitions are held in several categories in which include different process and coffee varietals specially Geisha. The preliminary judging round is judged by a group of national judges. An international jury judges the final round.

Sydney Coffee Business together with Sharon Jan will host a special tasting event the record-breaking "Esmeralda Geisha 601". Stay tuned to for more details.

For more information visit or

For more information on Rachel Peterson, see BeanScene's article here.

Featured image on left: Producers, The Peterson from Facienda La Esmeralda.

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