Hacienda La Esmeralda is a specialty coffee producing company owned by the Peterson Family and located in the Highlands of Boquete, South-West region of the Republic of Panama. Hacienda La Esmeralda is home to the famous award-winning Esmeralda Geisha Coffee.
The lands that make up Hacienda La Esmeralda where first brought together as a single estate by a Swede named Hans Elliot in 1940. This land comprised several hundred hectares in what are now the Palmira and Cañas Verdes farms. In 1967, a Swedish-American banker by the name of Rudolph A. Peterson (1904-2003) bought Hacienda La Esmeralda as a retirement venture. At the time, the land was predominantly pasture for beef cattle, with some small smatterings of coffee mixed in.
By 1975 the Petersons had switched the farms over to dairy cattle which performed quite well and continues to make up half of Esmeralda’s farm land today. In the mid-80s, the family was looking to further diversify and coffee, with its rich production history in the Boquete region, was a perfect opportunity.
Coffee had been growing on lands in and around Hacienda La Esmeralda since at least, 1890, and it was this huge reservoir of coffee knowledge and culture that helped the Petersons redevelop much of their land for coffee farming and even make their first coffee farm expansion at Palmira in 1988. Now, it bears mentioning that coffee at this time was almost exclusively an undifferentiated, mass-market, endeavor in Panama. It was not until the mid-1990s that some North American coffee buyers started talking about Specialty Coffee widely.