Coffee production in Panama was occurring in the Boquete Valley by the early 20th century,[1] although coffee was growing wild all over the Pacific coast region of Panama by this time, when production did not match domestic consumption.[1] The International Coffee Organization (ICO) has grouped mild arabica as the variety of coffee that is grown in Panama.[2] The best quality of coffee in Panama is grown in Boquete.[3] In the Coffee Review of 2008, two Panamanian coffees have received higher rating and fetched record prices than the coffee from Costa Rica.[4] This is mainly due to the unprecedented success of the Geisha varietal. This varietal originated from Ethiopia and arrived via Tanzania and Costa Rica in the 1960s in Panama. But only in 2004, its outstanding taste profile was recognized. In 2019 one pound of Panama Geisha beans fetched $1029 in an auction.[5]
The Best of Panama Coffee Competition has a long standing reputation for having high dollar coffee at auction, which is where Geisha asserted itself as one of the worlds highest costing coffees. This occurred in 2004 when Hacienda La Esmeralda entered the coffee into the competition where it was found to have a distinctly unusual taste before being purchased at auction for a record price of $21 per pound.[12] 15 years later at the same Best of Panama Competition and Auction, another Geisha sold for $1,029 per pound (unroasted).[13] Earning the nickname “Elida Natural Geisha 1029,” this Geisha was produced on the Lamastus Family Estates.[13] 100 pounds of Geisha coffee sold for $100,000, ranking above the next closest coffee by $80,000. Geisha is perhaps the most valuable coffee in the world.[14]