The Best Coffee in the World is grown right here in Boquete, at Hacienda la Esmeralda, an estate owned by a man named Price Peterson. The beans are called Geisha, and at times they have sold for well over $100 a pound. A sucker for anything novel and foodie, I’m hell-bent on acquiring some at a fraction of the cost while I’m here.
(Stupid) Jack and I stop at Cafe Ruiz “one of the oldest and most respected coffee producers in the country” for an afternoon pick-me-up. I ask the woman behind the counter if they sell Geisha beans. They don’t carry Geisha, but we catch “Price Peterson” a few times in her explanation. Not much of a clue, but it’s enough to fuel our determination to track these damn beans down. At this point, Price Peterson (that fabulous name!) has achieved mythical status with us. He is the International Man of Mystery/Coffee, J. Peterman and the Most Interesting Man in the World, all rolled-up into one.
He doesn’t always drink coffee, but when he does, it’s Geisha.
MI JARDIN ES SU JARDIN
Caffeine-upped, (Stupid) Jack and I continue our pursuit of the bizarre at Mi Jardin es Su Jardin (just down the road), another lavish, private garden open to the public, again tackified with ceramic cows, plastic windmills, dinosaurs, and other oddball decorative items. We don’t get it.
We drive into town, spy another coffee shop, and pull-in. Once again, the store doesn’t sell Geisha, but this time our salesperson points outside to a man standing on the sidewalk, talking on a cellphone, who trades in coffee. Maybe he knows Price Peterson!
We sidle up and (Stupid) Jack (who speaks eleventh-grade Spanish) inquires into scoring some Geisha.
“<Spanish><Spanish><Spanish> Price Peterson <Spanish><Spanish><Spanish>!” The Guy replies.
The Guy makes a call. Maybe to Price Peterson. He instructs us to return here tomorrow morning, speak with his secretary and she will provide further instructions then. The Mission continues!
COFFEE ESTATE INN
I walk into my bedroom, stop short. Someone’s been touching my shit! The fan is on, the blinds are open, and my books have been arranged (from small to large, top to bottom) on the nightstand. My hat (that was buried deep within Bagzillo) is lying on a shelf, my toiletries have been removed from their case and arranged — in height order — and my shoes (zapatos) have been liberated from my luggage and placed — left shoe on the left, right shoe on the right — on the floor. Wow. I don’t know whether to be impressed or disturbed.