Panama

CCS & Finca Deborah - World Brewers Cup 2018 Recap

CCS Sales Rep Veronika Galova Vesela represented Slovakia in the World Brewers Cup Championship in Brazil, Nov 2018. Veronika brewed Finca Deborah natural geisha, a coffee she has been competing with for three years at the international level.

CCS will have limited lots of Finca Deborah carbonic maceration and natural available in 2019! Contact Veronika to book them now.


CCS Exclusive: Finca Deborah, 2019

The breadth and depth of expertise in the CCS team is astounding. Case in point, Veronika Galova Vesela, one of our sales representatives in Europe, is the reigning Slovakian Brewers Cup champion. Veronika will depart for Brazil next week for the World Brewers Cup championship. This is the fifth time Veronika will be competing on a world coffee stage, representing her home country, and the third time she will be competing using Finca Deborah coffee from producer Jamison Savage in Panama. 


Deborah Geisha Natural and Carbonic Maceration

CCS is thrilled to announce that we will have seven 15kg boxes of Finca Deborah Geisha Natural and seven 15kg boxes of Geisha Carbonic Maceration coffee from the 2019 harvest. 

This coffee will be available in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, with the exception of a few countries*, and will be exclusive to CCS in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Samples are expected in May-June, with the coffee due to arrive end of August, but the coffee can be booked right now. 

What makes this coffee so special?

Finca Deborah is owned and run by Jamison Savage, originally from the US, and his Panamanian wife Leslie H. Freitag. In 2007 the pair bought land in the mountains of Volcan, Chiriqui at an elevation of 1900 masl. After several years of infrastructure works, including the construction of a 1km road to reach their farm, and a solar energy system to power their processing facility, they began planting trees in 2010. 

The first harvest was in 2014, but much of the coffee was lost to inclement weather. The second harvest reached the market in 2015, and it immediately earned a reputation for being among the world’s best. The following year, Finca Deborah was the coffee used in the winning presentation by the World Barista Champion, Berg Wu. 

Veronika visited Finca Deborah in 2017, a place she describes as heaven on earth. 

“It's such a beautiful farm, it looks more like a jungle, with coffee trees interspersed, providing necessary shade.”

Part of what makes Deborah such an astounding coffee is Jamison’s rigorous approach to cultivation and processing. The Deborah Geisha Natural that Veronika will use in competition is dried on a three-tiered structure of Jamison’s own design. The coffee begins on the top layer, with full sun exposure to kill unwanted bacteria and initiate the fermentation process. The coffee moves to the second layer, with additional shade to develop the sweetness. Finally it is moved to the bottom layer to dry slowly until the moisture content is reduced to 11%. 

 Jamison Savage and his three-tiered drying beds, Finca Deborah, Panama

Jamison Savage and his three-tiered drying beds, Finca Deborah, Panama

The other key factor in producing exceptional quality is the unique environment of Finca Deborah. Bordered to the east by Costa Rica, the high elevation of the farm means temperatures can drop to as low as 10 degree celsius at night, causing the trees to push more sugars into their fruit. Combined with an ideal rainfall of 2200 mm per year, a soil rich in minerals, and careful use of organic fertilizer, the result is an intensely sweet cup.

Selecting coffee for competition

The Brewers Cup is sometimes called a “sourcing competition.” Unlike the Barista Championship, where so many points are attributed to service and the innovation and deliciousness of the signature drink, the Brewers Cup competitors are judged almost entirely on the final cup. Veronika’s goal in this year’s international competition is to let this coffee speak for itself. 

“In my brew I am aiming to unlock all the flavors and capture the unique profile of Deborah, its sweetness and complex fruity spectrum.” 

What drives Veronika to compete year after year is also a driving force behind CSS, to tell the stories of these coffees, and the many committed coffee professionals working to realize its full potential.  

“Producer, Roaster and Barista - we all are striving to bring the best possible coffee to the cup. We can achieve it only when working together with the same level of passion and dedication.”  

Veronika Trains for the World Brewers Cup


Watch Veronika’s competition performance

Veronika will be taking the stage for the first round of the World Brewers Cup on Wednesday November 7 at 3.45pm local time (6.45pm GMT). Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for links to the Live Stream of her performance. 

And, of course, contact Nico, Bjørnar or Veronika in Europe, or Julia in Asia, to book this exclusive coffee from Finca Deborah in 2019. It is available to reserve now. Need that unique stunner to wow the judges in an upcoming competition? Check out our full range of Competition Coffees

* Finca Deborah will not be available through CCS in the following countries: France, Germany, UK, Greece, Australia, Malaya Thailand and Korea



CCS Top Five: Veronika

It's no secret I'm big lover of Panamanian coffees. It is the first origin I visited and my favorite coffee origin to compete with at brewing competitions, because of my personal connection to this country. So my Top Five consists mostly of Panama, but there are some surprises from Latin America too. Click on a title to order a sample.

FincaElidaHistorical.png

1. Finca Elida Green Tip Geisha Natural

One of the farms I have visited in February 2017 was Finca Elida, owned by the Lamastus family. They are well known for such a great Geisha lots, winning Best of Panama year after year and baristas repeatedly competing with their coffees. No wonder - this is the one you should go for your competition. Intense floral aroma with flavors of strawberries, hint of mint and creamy body. Sounds like a delicious dessert!    


2. Finca Elida Catuai Natural

When we did a blind cupping at the farm I found my favorite ever coffee: Catuai, naturally processed. It has intense candy sweetness with a fruit explosion, which it consistently delivers each year, crop after crop. Even the geishas were jealous.  


3. El Burro Geisha Natural

I tried to get to El Burro, driving two hours uphill on a rugged path that was one meter deep and the width of our car. Sadly it started to rain and the road became muddy and slippery. We had to turn back, but I see now in my cup how precious are those climate conditions up there. This coffee explodes with apricots, bergamot, exotic florals, strawberry.  It is juicy, sweet, and a well balanced cup.  


4. Brazil, Santuario Sul, Sudan Rume, Anaerobic 

 Coffees on the drying beds at Santuario Sul. On the left, natural processed coffee. On the right, anaerobic.

Coffees on the drying beds at Santuario Sul. On the left, natural processed coffee. On the right, anaerobic.

Every morning I come to office and I brew my V60 and share with my colleague Suzie - the best start of the day, with a proper cup. I never thought I would be excited about brewing Brazilian coffee, but this year the team from Carmo Coffees brought lots which are total game changers. My favorite is the Sudan Rume processed by anaerobic fermentation - such a clean and fruity cup! Read more about these exciting coffees



5. Sidra 152 Lactic

lapalmayeltucan-langora1.jpg

Team of La Palma Y El Tucan are open about being coffee nerds. So am I and I believe most of us are, competitors especially. When looking for something funky, unexpected from Colombian coffees, they have wide selection of Heroes Series coffees including Sidra, Geisha, SL28 varieties. This year my favorite is a Sidra Lactic, fermented specifically to to play around with different acids found in the coffee. This sweet fruity coffee sparkles with blackberry, florals and banana. Buy it! Brew it! Win!

See Bjørnar’s Top Five.

Panama Harvest Visit, March 2017

The purpose of my recent visit to Boquete, Panama was to spend a couple of days cupping with long-time friends and partners. Over the course of this visit, I observed and learned about the latest developments concerning how coffee cultivation has changed in this famed micro-region. My hosts and the coffees we cupped included:

  • Hacienda Esmeralda, Geishas, Washed and Naturals
  • Elida Estate, Catuaí and Geisha, Washed and Naturals
  • Panama Coffee Traders (PCT): the new sourcing and export company of Wilford and Wilford Lamastus Jr. of Finca Elida. Catuaí and Geisha, Washed and Naturals.

This visit proved to be a bit early ‘in the season’ for cupping, although mid-March isn’t typically early in Central America. One major reason for this comparatively “later” harvest period is that the farmers we are buying from, along with many more in the Boquete valley, are growing their best coffees at higher and higher altitudes, in part due to climate change.
 

Climate Change, Geisha & the Harvest Period

Ronaldo, who has been working with coffee farming in Boquete over three decades (most notably at La Hacienda Esmeralda) is unequivocal about the average temperature noticeably increasing upward over the years. Rain patterns have also been changing; there is later or irregular rain, leading to “irregular” flowering and harvest periods. The harvest period is now starting in December lasting in August, with the main harvest period going from February through April.

The farmers in Boquete are incredibly competitive and they have long been rivalling one another in growing Geisha trees at the climactically highest altitudes possible. Early on this meant exceeding 1900 meters above sea level, then 2000 and today, ‘high’ has increased to 2100 masl. What was once not even considered possible is now happening, due both to competition and climate change. What’s next?

 Ripe geisha cherries at La Hacienda Esmeralda

Ripe geisha cherries at La Hacienda Esmeralda

Regardless of temperature or climate change, the Geisha plant is a sturdy one once it has settled. But it is also delicate and slow growing in terms of producing fruit worth calling a harvest. These factors, along with the high altitudes, the fact that Geisha cultivation requires seven to eight years or more of careful husbandry, the necessary wind protection, nourishment, and waiting, all culminate in the Geishaendeavour requiring great investments in time and all other imaginable resources.

The coffees themselves are becoming more elegant, whether wet processed or other. I think that when it is well done, Geisha might be one of the best varieties to make naturals from. I’m not saying that natural processing makes for a better cup than washed per se. But the best version of this variety and this method is showing its best and true attributes here. These Geisha naturals showcase the processing method in such a way that makes for both complexity and balance: they have all the floral notes and structured acidity, together with all the sweetness, body, and juiciness that a 94-points kind-of-coffee ought to have.
 

Hacienda Esmeralda

During the weekend of my visit, La Hacienda Esmeralda was celebrating its 50th Anniversary. The farm started with dairy production during the late ‘60s, moved into coffee soon afterward and is today strong in both fields. In the coffee world, Esmeralda is The World's #1 most recognized farm for Geisha coffee. After all, it was the Peterson family that discovered it. Who even spoke about Geisha before the Best of Panama competition in 2004?

 Happy 50th Anniversary, La Hacienda Esmeralda! Big congrats to the Peterson Family.

Happy 50th Anniversary, La Hacienda Esmeralda! Big congrats to the Peterson Family.

Earlier, I mentioned Ronaldo who has been working with the Peterson family since 2002. He arrived when they bought the now-famous plot on the Jaramillo hillside where the first Geisha trees were discovered. Back then, Geisha trees were being harvested from an altitude range of 1450 to 1650 masl. Much has changed since then.

Esmeralda continues to dry their lots on cement patios and in mechanical driers. There has been little innovation there. Their meticulousness, however, is unquestionable, along with their coffees’ cup results. As a matter of fact, I have yet to see the same consistency in results from other markets. I’m thinking particularly about colleagues from across the border in Costa Rica, who claim theirs are the best practices when it comes to drying naturals and ‘honey’ coffee on raised African beds. I’m wondering whether these methods truly make a difference.

What are the cup-profile correlations? And what are the long-term effects of a given method? How well does the processed green coffee keep its quality?

 Robert (left) with Wilford Lamastus of Finca Elida

Robert (left) with Wilford Lamastus of Finca Elida


Finca Elida and Designing Flavour

Speaking of processing and cup quality, Wilford Lamastus of Finca Elida told me he is growing more and more skeptical of de-pulping machines (i.e. eco-pulpers). He thinks it is obvious that the pulper’s physical strain on the parchment, including the centrifuging of the mucilage, is damaging the coffee-in-parchment to an extent that is limiting the quality potential of the coffee both in the cup and over time.

While I understood his evidence as anecdotal, I think it is worth following up. Wilford now processes his best coffee without de-pulping. Rather, the skin is removed using good old-fashioned fermentation and washing techniques, which he calls hand washed coffee. I like that.

This classic process uses more water, so for this is a problematic trend (if it becomes one, again) in terms of environmental considerations. On the other hand, and this became clear to me later in the conversation with Wilford, the other motivation for taking the cherry-skin off carefully is to preserve the skin as well as possible so he can make the best possible cascara from it. Some good news for the same environmental analyses.

 Drying at Finca Elida

Drying at Finca Elida

Elida’s lots, both washed and natural, are generally cupping great, with scores ranging from 86 to 89 points (the family might have scored them higher). There were only a few scoring a disappointing 84 points and then the family knew something had gone wrong, whether in the drying or in the roasting. There were also cups that were (un)questionably winey, but then again, these are spot-on for other buyers’ preferences. So it goes.

Like those winey flavors in your naturals and want more? You’ve got it! The Elida approach to servicing a market, by designing flavor, is something we are seeing in other places in the coffee world too. Wilford is adamant about this approach being a pragmatic one. From his perspective as a craftsman, the ‘secret’ lies in the drying of naturals. For those that want a cleaner cup with less mature-fruit driven flavors, he will suggest a faster dried coffee cherry: one dried on a hotter surface; using thinner layers; with more sun exposure and more raking; over 5-7 days. Done! For a fruitier cup for other markets, he will deliberately do a slower drying by using raised African beds, thicker layers, less shade or less direct sunlight, turning just once a day, with a two-week drying time, or more.
 

Pricing

Beyond the yearly ritual of cupping with Rachel (at Esmeralda) and Wilford & Wilford Jr. (at Elida), I learned a few things about how Boquete producers strategize their production and sales, even designing profiles of their lots to meet various markets. It has been evident for years that Boquete is the home of Geisha in quite literal, as well as statistical senses. There is a tremendous amount of Geisha plants being grown, whether it’s the re-planting of existing farm land, or new plantings. The Lamastus' farms alone will plant 45,000+ trees this year, which is on par with their growth last year. Given the time it takes to see any noticeable harvest, production levels aren’t going to explode any time soon.

The Petersons, easily already the biggest Geisha farmers in this community, continue to buy land and grow trees at a formidable rate. They do so in no rush and with no cutting of corners. The family work with coffee based on solid investments and farm work. I often think that we owe a great deal of gratitude to the fact that it was this family, and this community, that discovered Geisha. Had it been somebody else, what would they have done? Would the field have advanced to where it is today?

 The Petersons: (from left) Daniel, Rachel, Erik, Susan & Price)

The Petersons: (from left) Daniel, Rachel, Erik, Susan & Price)

Auctions continue to be a thermometer and a regulator for the price setting of Geisha coffee, although, going from astronomically high prices of $300+ per pound, to more down-to-earth levels of $30/lb and below speaks clearly, in dollar value terms, that not all Geisha lots are ‘worth' the same. At BoP and at Esmeralda’s very own auctions, the lots are very competitive in quality. For example, Esmeralda is not auctioning any lot under 88-points. This means that when they sell their Private Collection, it is a blend of 86-88 points, which is not a bad deal, considering that one does not need to bid for it.

Farmers delivering to and succeeding at Best of Panama know that they cannot expect to sell their non-auction 86-point Geishas at +$30 per pound. While I think these price-structures are interesting and well deserved, we must realize that there is a new economy in coffee that is separate from and totally different than the rest of the coffee market. Like in any other well-functioning economy, knowledge is power. In Boquete, cupping is key, and the best farmers in this town are also the best cuppers, competing with their customers in knowing the most about what’s on the table. When these coffees meet an educated market, offered by empowered farmers, it is a quite beautiful battle. One that is ‘fought’ on equal terms.

 The Best of Panama Auction has been instrumental in empowering Panama coffee farmers in setting great benchmark prices for their lots

The Best of Panama Auction has been instrumental in empowering Panama coffee farmers in setting great benchmark prices for their lots

Elida sells its Catuaí cascara for $3.50/lb and its Geisha for $10/lb. Power!

This year, the Lamastuses introduced me to their Panama Coffee Traders' (PCT) program for sourcing and buying lots from neighbours. This company was started with the aim of finding buyers good and sold Boquete coffees that are at a lower price-point. While my visit proved to be a bit early in the season, I still cupped some lots and have asked about places, people and potential for future relationships. I scored one non-Geisha from PCT at 86 points and the highest scores were between 86.5 and 87-points but both were Geisha.

Well, the season isn’t over and symptomatically of climate change and coffee growing at higher altitudes, the BoP which used to take place in Early-April is now happening at the end of May. Hopefully you, the buyer, will accept these realities and not fill up your inventories with other Central American coffees, while Boquete coffee have not yet been harvested.

- Robert

Farm Profile: Finca Elida

Name: Elida Estate Coffee
Owner: Lamastus family (since 1918)
Region: Alto Quiel, Boquete
Total estate area (ha): Total: 65; Coffee: 30; Forest Reserve: 35
Altitude (masl): 1670-1890
Average annual rainfall (mm): 2800
Average age of trees (years): One lot: 40 years; the rest: 5 years
Harvest period: January-May 2014 lot: 100% Catuaí, composed of three separate day lots (February 7, 23 & March 31 reposo start dates)
Soil: Deep, sandy-loam


About

When a farm and its owner have the kind of reputation and following that Finca Elida and Wilford Lamastus do, it's impossible to 'stock' such coffees. Instead, the few coveted lots we receive from Elida each season are booked by roasters who send in their requests early in the harvest season.

The estate is one of the highest located coffee plantations within Panama and coffee is shade grown in rich volcanic soils. More than half the estate is surrounded by private forest reserve and Volcan national park: home to many native species of plants and birds (over 200 species). Shrubs receive fungicide and hand-applied chemical fertilizer 2-3 terms per year and no herbicides are used.

Robert first met Wilford and his family 10 years ago when he was hunting (as he usually is) for unique coffees produced by people who possess that magic combination of ambition, merit and a long-term vision, which we are always in search for. The Lamastus family met all of these criteria in spades.

Wilford is a third-generation producer, self-identifying as being "born" a coffee farmer; he fondly remembers using the trees planted in between the coffee on the family's 1.5 hectare plantation as a playground along with his four brothers. Coffee is and always has been his life's calling and the tradition only continues with his son who is currently learning the family's trade in pursuit of his own career as a coffee producer.

What sets the Lamastus family apart is their vision of Elida's niche within what we like to call high-end specialty coffee. In Wilford's words, "the super-specialty coffee industry is dynamic, challenging, competitive, innovative, there are always new players doing something new in thousands of super-specialty coffee farms around the world to improve quality. Therefore, every year we do something new in the mill and the farm to improve quality."

To remain atop this field, the Lamastus family invests in a lot of research in processing techniques, particularly in drying and resting methods, such as the ideal drying periods and storage facilities for parchment. Since the Panamanian coffee sector does not fund a research program or lab like many other countries have, the Lamastus family, their neighbours and colleagues belonging to the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP) are constantly getting together to discuss each others' methods and new projects. There is a good sense of  community and collaboration within the SCAP.

Elida has established itself as one of the most highly regarded specialty coffee estates in Panama. It consistently ranks within the top-10 at the annual Best of Panama competition, placing 3rd in 2007 for the non-geisha competition; it is highly sought-after by specialty roasters the world over; it placed amongst the top 30 of 350 submitted to SCAA in 2005. The Lamastus family, growers for the past century, is an experienced and proud coffee family that is continually investing in and seeking new ways of improving their already stellar coffees.

In addition to all the ongoing research, Elida is in the first of a very ambitious six-year plan to completely re-plant the farm with the geisha variety. Right now the farm is made up of 80% catuai, 15% geisha and 5% typica. Elida's sister farm, El Burro, is already 90% geisha planted. Of course, cup quality doesn't stop at experimentation and variety make-up: ensuring quality requires vigilant and non-stop cupping, which Wilford and his team are adamant about.

On the social side of Elida's projects, the farm is undergoing a restructuring and updating of its employees' living quarters. And during picking season, the children of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé pickers are provided with an education in an on-site classroom which has a capacity for 20 students.
 

Picking & Processing

Cherries are handpicked and processed using one of three processes: demucilaged-washed, honey, and/or a natural process. The mechanically washed coffee system produces zero-water discharge, meaning the coffee used for washing is mixed with mucilage and pulp to be used later as fertilizer. In the natural process, cherries are dried in their pulp and require 10 days of drying to achieve 10% humidity. With all three processes, daily harvests are identified and kept separate, with volumes ranging between 1-10 bags (green); averaging around 5 bags. Sometimes batches are combined after they are later cupped and are judged to be similar in cup profile.

Once cherries are harvested, they are sun-dried at low temperatures for 10-12 days. All these factors, combined with the high elevations, lead to a longer cherry development period, which express in intensified flavours in the cup. Once coffee is dried, it is stored or “in reposo” (i.e. resting) from between 75-100 days in order for the coffee to reach “full development”. The week before shipment, parchment is sorted using both a desimetric (oliver) machine and is further selected by hand.

FincaElida2.jpg

Producer Profile: Daniel Peterson, Hacienda La Esmeralda

24-panama-daniel-peterson1-2.jpg

Estate: Hacienda Esmeralda
Region: Jaramillo and Canas Verdas
Location: Boquete, Panama
Altitude(masl): 1600-1800
Process: Washed and Natural
Variety: Geisha

 

About

As a coffee farmer, Daniel's interest in the sensory evaluation of coffee was once a rarity. The custom at Hacienda Esmeralda has always been to pick coffee berries as they ripened, plot by plot, but all the coffee from Jaramillo was mixed. It was only in 2002 that Daniel became aware that it was the few plants (3%) on the farm of this special varietal, which elevated the overall fresh acidity of the whole lot. Daniel began to selectively pick and separate the berries that he considered to be the particular varietal creating this unique aroma and flavour. This is where the new era begins.

Boquete is a very special place in this respect: there is good camaraderie and professional solidarity between clever and ambitious coffee farmers in one place. From this fertile ground sprung the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP), and the Best of Panama (BoP), first held in 1996 – three years before the CoE. Many coffee farmers here know their coffee well. They are seasoned roasters and skilled cuppers. Daniel has been a part of this community since its inception. (In 2012, the BoP made the radical – and absolutely natural – intervention to separate Geisha coffee in a separate category of the competition. This made BoP the first auction program to do so, but we are going to see more of it ahead!)

Daniel is a meticulous, curious and ambitious person. When we visited him in 2006, we were presented with a coffee that he had put great pride in “making”. Daniel had selectively picked from the areas on the farm he had presumed to be the best. He then tasted his way through the coffees, selecting only the best, mixed the small lots, and sold it as Esmeralda Special Geisha. Winning the BoP every year from 2004 to 2007 would suggest that this was not a bad strategy. But we wondered if it would be possible for us – who would buy his coffee anyway – to taste the day lots, from different areas of the farm separately. Given that the characteristics would be slightly different from area to area, from early to late in picking season, we would thus be able to select the best of the best.

To begin with, Daniel wasn’t sure of idea of letting us have this opportunity. He had, after all, taken great pride in finding the best, and then creating (by blending) the best of the best. But the following year Hacienda Esmeralda agreed to this strategy. They even put up an auction where they offered small lots from all areas, with different picking dates. All were from Jaramillo, everything was Geisha, but all the lots were a little different. It was a success!

The early Hacienda Esmeralda Special Geisha offerings have become an exercise in showing the different characteristics and potential of a single varietal; with aromas ranging from highly refined bergamot to jasmine; flavors varying from stone fruit sweetness to citrus acidity, and different mouth feels – and all from a small geographical area. Prices at auction have also shown that subtly different attributes attract different buyers, and show that roasters are valuing those attributes very differently. This auction has now become a yearly barometer for the value of The Geisha Coffee from Boquete in Panama.

The Coffee World can consider itself lucky that this single piece of land, a small coffee farm in Jaramillo, Boquete, ended up in the Peterson family’s hands. In such a short time, the trend in the specialty coffee world has gone completely parallel to this story: this practice is no longer unique to Hacienda Esmeralda. In that sense, this is also the story of the development of specialty coffee in recent years.

Daniel’s work and his impact on specialty coffee are undeniable. The Peterson family of Hacienda Esmeralda have helped us to define the true value of truly good coffee: it’s about its taste. And that is priceless.

May & June 2013 Cupping Events

collaborative-3248.jpg

collaborative-3248 London in Review

Thank you to The Association and Prufrock Coffee for being such excellent hosts for our recent cupping events!

To recap: Our focus during the Association cupping were the Hacienda La Esmeralda Special auction lots. The Peterson family produces separate lots based on geographic areas, microclimates and picking dates from their farms and then auction these lots each year. The date for this year's auction is May 21st and we wanted to give UK roasters the opportunity to taste and form a buying group to bid on these amazing coffees during auction.

Our cupping at Prufrock had a broader focus and in addition to cupping the Esmeralda lots, cuppers tasted  fresh crop Guatemalan and Honduran coffees coming from our friends at Bella Vista in Antigua and San Vincente in Santa Barbara. Also in the mix were soon-to-arrive Kenya and Ethiopia coffees.

There were great turnouts at these events! Thanks to all who took the time to join us.

May and June Events

For all you out there who couldn't join us in London, don't despair! We're make the rounds again in May and June. Mark your calendars!

Oslo: May 15 @ Kaffa Roastery. Esmeralda auction lots, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Berlin: May 21 @ the Barn. Esmeralda auction lots. Auction is that day! May 28 @ the Barn: Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Nice: June 26-28 during SCAE World of Coffee. Details to follow!

RSVP

London Again! April 23-24

 Prufrock Coffee, London

Prufrock Coffee, London

London has become a second home for us at the Collaborative - especially at Prufrock Coffee, which has now welcomed and helped us co-host several cuppings since the very beginning. We have cupped some fantastic coffees and met some great coffee people within these walls, and now we are heading back to our London home again next week.

This time around, however, we have another venue and event to talk about: an exclusive cupping of coffees from Hacienda La Esmeralda at The Association. We have developed a great relationship over the years with the Peterson family, owners of Hacienda La Esmeralda. Throughout the history of Panama's Best of Panama competition, the Petersons and their geisha coffees have performed very well - winning or placing close to the top, many times. The quality and unique flavour characteristics have become so well regarded, that the family decided to hold their own auction, where lots are separated amongst their farms based on geographic areas and microclimates, and picking dates. These auction coffees comprise the Hacienda La Esmeralda Special lots.

Since 2006, we have been buying coffees from the Petersons and will offer their Esmeralda Boquete geisha blend this year, as we did last year. In addition to the Boquete Blend, we are excited to announce that we will be cupping this year's auction lots at The Association next week. This is an opportunity to be amongst the first to taste these amazing coffees, as well as provide interested roasters the opportunity to organize a buying group during the auction, which takes place on May 21st.

Where: The Association, 12 Creechurch Lane When: April 23, 4:30-6pm RSVP: Please confirm your attendance here

The next day, as part of UK Coffee Week, Prufrock is co-hosting a cupping where you will again have the opportunity to taste Esmeralda's auction lots. In addition, cuppers will taste fresh crop Guatemala and Honduran coffees from our friends at Bella Vista in Antigua and San Vincente in Santa Barbara. This is your chance to decide which lots are coming to Europe and into your roasteries before they are shipped! Also in the mix are soon-to-arrive Kenya coffees and again, you will have the opportunity to reserve the names you want offered in your menus.

See you there!

Honestly! Why Paris?

wine_coffee.jpg

With all due respect, as much as Paris is the food capital of the world, it used to be a joke to even think of Paris as a coffee destination. Well that was until just a few months ago.

For two days we want to make Paris the Coffee Capital. And as a matter of fact, things are changing quickly – and Paris IS on its way to becoming a coffee destination too and that is why we want to be here now.

We are in Europe after all. And Paris is at the center of it. Geograpichally it’s obvious. It’s Convenient. Its Beautiful.

CUTTING EDGE(S)

Lets start with talking about the fringes.

Any movement usually starts as a marginal thing. Even in marginal places. Just like Seattle once was the specialty coffee hub (deserved or not) it is at least geographically not at the center of the US market. And as we know, the cutting edge coffee places were not seen in NYC until recent years.  Japan´s most influential Coffee company is in a mountain hill town, Kentaro Maruyama moved into Tokyo last week. Scandinavia is an outpost on this continent, but in specialty coffee it has become a destination.

THE EVENT. THE IDEA. PARIS 2012

For one weekend we want to share. We want to facilitate. We want to participate.

The ambition is to build a community. Many eager and competent coffee roasters around the continent have received coffees through the Collaborative. On behalf of the coffee farmers we are proud to say that we have found good homes for their lots. Now that the coffees are ”out there” we want to ask for samples of it back that we can cup together.

We are gathering a bunch of roasters – you – from all over Europe, to get together as proud craftsmen and women. We’ll talk about our craft and proudly share the coffees that we have roasted with such skill and care.  Sourced by The Collaborative, roasted by you, all together on the same table. We are organizing a cupping where you’ll get the rare opportunity to compare you roast style with other ambitious roasters and craftsmen and women of Europe.  Not for competition, but for cultural interaction and education. Other professional coffee cuppers and Baristas from all over the continent (and further) have signed up to come as well. Thus this is a unique chance to get a truly interesting feedback and discussions on the regional, company or personal culinary craft of roasting coffee. (even coffee from same farm, but roasted, thus approached with different craft. Then cup it comparatively. On the same table, the same day). For collegial interaction and fun.

We have carefully restricted the number of attendees at the event.  We want there to be time and space for interaction and access to the coffees and the people who grew them.

THE COLLABORATIVE COFFEE SOURCE

It lies in the name. The Collaborative Coffee Source´s ambition is to be a source, and we want to do it in a collaborative way. We strive for making the coffee trade a transparent interaction between equally important partners; the maker, the importer, the roaster.

We source the coffees from the origins we work with that are outstanding the every meaning of the word. It goes without saying that the cup needs to speak for itself, thus beyond that – or better said – before that, there is a place and people who we want to learn about. The collaborative model is not to take ownership of that, but share it with you – the roaster. After all, it is your coffee.

There is no coffee trader around who’s ultimate goal is to connect you directly with the Place and the People who actually made the coffee you’d be roasting. The Collaborative doesn’t stock green coffee. We find it and we make sure it finds good homes, in Europe, and further afield. If you liked one coffee in the first place, you might be willing to stick to working with a farmer who has committed himself to making awesome coffee for you.

We want to make sure that that happens. And we want to make sure that you get it in a timely fashion.

Welcome to the collaborative!

THE NEWEST CROP: SOUTHERN BRAZIL

We are presenting and cupping the freshest lots of coffees right now.

BRAZIL finished their harvest in the highest growing regions a few weeks ago, the coffee lots are resting and getting ready to be shipped. We were there to preselect the cream of the crop from the highest merited regions - and now we’ll present them to you.

BURUNDI. We are thrilled to present to you this East African gem. It is like the new promised land. A new star from the African continent, wonderfully clean and sweet-tasting. We can’t wait to share our findings and our excitement.

HARD CORE EDUCATION:

VARIETALS

All of the coffees that we are getting from Carmo de Minas in Brazil and all of the coffees from Burundi are Bourbon coffees, thus this is a unique chance to taste & talk about and attributes of Bourbon as a varietal.  To further enlighten and enhance our understanding of varietals, we have invited some of the highest merited coffee farmers on the Planet, the person who has had the fortune, curiosity and skill to work out a strategy for this is what has driven the roasting end of the industry more than anything else in the last few years.

PROCESSING NATURALS

Flavio Borem is a big deal.  He´s never shown his work in Europe before and we are flying him over to share his work with us.  His investigations at the University of Lavras in Brazil are about how processing affects the quality and the taste profile of the coffee in the cup.  This is what we have all being dying to know for so long.  And here he is to tell us.

SO WHY, AGAIN?

Because it is a unique opportunity to choose coffees you wish to purchase.  And to mingle with your European counterparts.

Because it is educational and informative thus giving you a better understanding of what is happening in the coffee world – directly from source.

Lofty ambitions? Sure, why go for less.

So we have found a sexy loft for it.

- Robert

A portrait of a coffee personality: Daniel Peterson, Hacienda Esmeralda, Boquete, Panama

24 Panama, Daniel Peterson
24 Panama, Daniel Peterson

Coffee is an old commodity. But the way we buy nowadays; tasting, describing and thinking about the coffee, it´s almost as if it is a completely different product. This applies at least to the coffee we know as specialty coffee.

The definition of specialty coffee can be just that: a specific coffee, made by concrete - often named people, that causes the coffee to have specific taste attributes - which is attractive - and thus a market value as something special. These coffees come with a higher price: let us call it added value.

Meanwhile, simultaneously to this development in the last 10-20 years, the industry has fostered personalities who have come to merit a place in coffee history. As the industry of specialty coffee is so young, and many people are working with coffee in groundbreaking ways, there are many who have been named (rightly or no) as experts and pioneers. In other fields those experts would have had to have studied and worked for a lifetime to be adorned with such titles.  It is only with hindsight that we appreciate the true value of their work.

However, I would like to take this opportunity, in the present, to talk about a person who has worked with coffee in a way that is going to make his mark on the history of coffee. There is evidence already.

This year it is 10 years since Geisha coffee's unique flavor attributes were discovered at Hacienda Esmeralda, for which the whole Peterson family should be congratulated. But it is individual people who do very specific tasks. So in this little history of Geisha coffee, despite it being a truly familial endeavor, it is Daniel Peterson who will be designated as the discoverer.  It was he who tasted his way through all the batches of coffee from the farms, to the revelation that one in particular had such unique attributes that it ought to be persevered.

Exploration, tasting and description, is the key. To taste coffee is nothing new. But to work on it in a systematic way, carefully separating the coffee varietals when picking, separating sections from different areas of the farm, separating the day lots and tasting everything separately, is a relatively new concept in coffee farming. It was only when Daniel Peterson started working with this methodology in 2002 that he was able to discover the true character of Geisha coffee.

The Geisha varietal could be found in Central America decades before this "discovery". The first seeds were planted in Boquete in 1978 on the advice of coffee agronomist Francisco Serracín. Francisco is a coffee farmer himself, and has succeeded in producing one of the finest Geisha coffees in the world at his own farm, Don Pachi in Boquete. The discovery of the taste attributes of the coffee were as new to him as to everyone else when it was first ´discovered´ ten years ago.

The varietal was in fact originally cultivated because of its resistance to fungal attack in the humid climate in Boquete, and not on account of its unique taste characteristics. This is where the distinction lies between specialty coffee and commodity coffee. Yes, it is an agrarian commodity, but it can also be a product with concrete, sometimes subtle yet very desirable attributes. That is the kind of coffee we enjoy, and it is the coffee we now want to celebrate.

Boquete is a small valley tucked in the corner of the Cordillera Central next to the towering presence of the Barú volcano. Here, the Peterson family have run their farm of cattle and coffee since 1967, under the name of Hacienda Esmeralda.

The family's coffee farms are scattered around the valley. The Palmira farm is located near the farmhouse and processing station; Cañas Verdes is located at the foot of the volcano and the Jaramillo farm is located on the south facing slopes of the Boquete Valley.

The Peterson family bought the 50 ha farm in the Jaramillo area in 1996 on account of its favorable microclimate and altitude: they grow coffee up to 1750 m.a.sl. Aside from these topographical recommendations, and the fact that the plants appeared to be in generally good health, little was known about what lay ahead.

Cousin Mario, another of the Peterson clan, chose the best view of the property, with vistas of the lush Boquete valley, and on a clear day, the distant Pacific coast. Mario is a wooden furniture maker, enjoying quiet rural life with the family in his self -built house within the cosy walls of coffee bushes on the Jaramillo farm. But despite Mario´s domestic presence on the farm, it has always been Daniel who has looked after the coffee, and he is the man who found those unique coffee bushes up there on the hillside - but it took some years before this discovery was made.

Daniel Peterson is a boqueteño, born in 1974, youngest son of Susan and Price. After studying, including periods in the U.S., he came home and took responsibility for coffee in the family business Hacienda Esmeralda.  I became acquainted with Daniel on one of my new origin trips.  Panama was the new destination, the year was 2005. In the Best of Panama competition (BoP) the year before, Daniel and his family won the contest with a coffee with a character that no one had tasted before in Central America. No one had ever before tasted a coffee from that continent that had such a floral aroma, and such a fresh acidity, with such a silky and elegant mouth feel. The closest one could get to explaining the taste was by referring to the best coffees of Yirgacheffe in Ethiopia, but even there you will not find a coffee that is quite so perfumed, and certainly not as well processed.

At the ensuing internet auction, this little lot of coffee made at first historic - then astronomical prices - at $ 21/lb. It was initially thought that it was a hacker who had sabotaged proceedings, but no: it was just many, many willing bidders for the # 1 of Best of Panama! The following year it won again and we had to bid over $ 50/lb for the lot. Everything has changed since then.

In those days there were only a few bags that went to auction, while the rest of the farm´s 100 bags of Geisha needed to find their buyers through other channels. We bought a small lot through Ian Kluse, a coffee trader in California. Then our characterful friend, Duane Sorenson of Stumptown casually wondered if we might share some bags of a coffee that he had come across that was completely 'radical, man'.   Sure, man!  We paid $10/lb. for that coffee, outside the auction.  At the time that was 6 times more than paid for specialty coffee elsewhere. But this was more special!

This was at a time when it had not yet become common to communicate the coffee´s varietal. But with such explicit flavor attributes it became necessary to refer to that, since terroir alone could not explain it all. Thus there has been a clear shift in how we must now communicate coffee flavour: it starts with the varietal.

Some years earlier, Daniel and Ian (Kluse) got to know each other around the cupping table at Hacienda Esmeralda. Hacienda Esmeralda has many types of coffee from different farms and Ian traded from these. Ian was already trading green coffee with customers in the U.S. who would pay a little extra for a coffee that had extra freshness of acidity, and Ian was in Boquete to test this year's harvest.

As a coffee farmer, Daniel´s interest in the sensory evaluation of coffee was once a rarity. The custom at Hacienda Esmeralda has always been to pick coffee berries as they ripened, plot by plot, but all the coffee from Jaramillo was mixed. It was only in 2002 that Daniel became aware that it was the few plants (3%) on the farm of this special varietal, which elevated the overall fresh acidity of the whole lot. Daniel began to selectively pick and separate the berries that he considered to be the particular varietal creating this unique aroma and flavour.  This is where the new era begins.

Boquete is a very special place in this respect: there is good camaraderie and professional solidarity between clever and ambitious coffee farmers in one place. From this fertile ground sprung the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP), and the Best of Panama (BoP), first held in 1996 - three years before the CoE.  Many coffee farmers here know their coffee well.  They are seasoned roasters and skilled cuppers. Daniel has been a part of this community since its inception. (In 2012, the BoP made the radical - and absolutely natural - intervention to separate Geisha coffee in a separate category of the competition.  This made BoP the first auction program to do so, but we are going to see more of it ahead!)

Daniel is a meticulous, curious and ambitious person. When I visited him in 2006, I was presented with a coffee that he had put great pride in "making".  Daniel had selectively picked from the areas on the farm he had presumed to be the best.  He then tasted his way through the coffees, selecting only the best, mixed the small lots, and sold it as Esmeralda Special Geisha. Winning the BoP every year from 2004 to 2007 would suggest that this was not a bad strategy. But I wondered if it would be possible for us - who would buy his coffee anyway - to taste the day lots, from different areas of the farm separately. Given that the characteristics would be slightly different from area to area, from early to late in picking season, we would thus be able to select the best of the best.

To begin with, Daniel wasn´t sure of idea of etting us have this opportunity.  He had, after all, taken great pride in finding the best, and then creating (by blending) the best of the best. But the following year Hacienda Esmeralda agreed to this strategy. They even put up an auction where they offered small lots from all areas, with different picking dates. All were from Jaramillo, everything was Geisha, but all the lots were a little different. It was a success!

They early Hacienda Esmeralda Special Geisha offerings have become an exercise in showing the different characteristics and potential of a single varietal; with aromas ranging from highly refined bergamot to jasmine; flavors varying from stone fruit sweetness to citrus acidity, and different mouth feels - and all from a small geographical area. Prices at auction have also shown that subtly different attributes attract different buyers, and show that roasters are valuing those attributes very differently. This auction has now become a yearly barometer for the value of The Geisha Coffee from Boquete in Panama.

The Coffee World can consider itself lucky that this single piece of land, a small coffee farm in Jaramillo, Boquete, ended up in the Peterson family's hands. In such a short time, the trend in the specialty coffee world has gone completely parallel to this story: this practice is no longer unique to Hacienda Esmeralda.  In that sense, this is also the story of the development of specialty coffee in recent years.

Lucky for us, that at this time in history, in our time, a clever young man named Daniel, saw an opportunity – and grabbed it with both hands.  Daniel's work and his impact on specialty coffee are undeniable, but still the inquisitive and dedicated family as a whole must be commended. In a clever way, the Peterson family of Hacienda Esmeralda have helped us to define the true value of truly good coffee: it’s about its taste. And that is priceless.

Robert

Le Carnaval du Café: tickets on sale NOW!

That's right chaps, the wait is over.  Tickets go on sale today.

Drop whatever you are doing! Grab your wallet! Get to a computer near you! Limber up those enter-hitting fingers and GET IN THERE QUICK!

Two days in PARIS, surrounded by the speciality coffee community of Europe, cupping some of the world´s best coffee and being at the forefront of groundbreaking research are just a few clicks away...

London Centrals Cupping: Thursday 27th September

After the overwhelming success of our last London cuppings, we have decided to come back and present our latest coffee gems in the shape of Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama (Geisha).

We will be hosted by the wonderful people at Prufrock coffee on Leather Lane and will be joined with a skype link to the Collaborative founder Robert Thoresen who will introduce us to the coffees and regions and lead the discussion after cupping.

Date: Thursday 27th September

Time: 5pm

Location: Prufrock Coffee,  23-25 Leather Lane EC1N 7TE

The timings are as follows:

16.45 Arrival

17:00 Introduction to the coffees with Robert Thoresen via Skype

17:30 Cupping Honduras, Costa Rica & Panama Geisha

18:30 Discussion including Robert via Skype

19:00 Ends

"Micromills of Costa Rica and Best of Best of Panama" cupping

group1.jpg

Hello Good Coffee People!

Last Friday Lars Huse, coffee lover and illustrator extraordinaire, released "Coffee A-Z" - a delightful little book filled with coffee information and accompanying illustrations. As the title succinctly describes it, the book informs and visualizes the world of coffee according to Lars. The event was held at Protein by DunneFrankowski, a minimalist coffee-bar-within-art-gallery space. Prior to the festivities, Robert hosted a cupping with a focus on micromills in Costa Rica and the best of Best of Panama.

To provide you with a bit of background on the Costa Rican coffees, Robert has been partnering with Exclusive Coffees over the last several years to first establish relationships and then buy coffee from quality-focused farms and micromills. Some of these micromill partners were represented at this cupping: Helsar de Zarcero, Don Mayo, Herbazu and Puente. Our approach within each country we buy from is focused and targeted, so when we met with Francisco and Juan Ramòn of Exclusive to discuss present and future strategy, we decided that rather than offer our customers "everything", we would focus on a handful of micromills and a handful of farms whose coffee is processed within each micromill. This allows for better relationship building, easier and more transparent communication and for better planning for future seasons.

So what did cuppers think of the coffees presented? 9 coffees were cupped and there were several varieties presented from each micromill. Sometimes Villa Sarchi presented more intense acidity but the Caturras also proved citrusy. The standout on this table came from the El Sur farm from the Puente micromill - this coffee had a lot of acidity but it was nicely balanced with sugary sweetness.

From the Best of Panama auction, we selected what we deem to be the "cream of the crop" from all three categories (i.e. geisha, natural, traditional) including natural and washed processed caturra, natural and washed geisha, washed pacamara and natural catuaì. Representative farms included Mama Cata, Los Lajones, Kotowa, Don Julian, Don Tito and Santa Teresa. There was some lively discussion about this table due to the varietals, processes and regions represented.

Many of you know about the Jaramillo farm located in Boquete and owned by the Peterson family. The geisha produced on this farm is well-known for being delicate and floral with prominent lemon citrus and jasmine flavours - people have come to love these attributes and it has put this farm and region on the map and the Petersons now hold their own successful auction. This year's geisha winner also presents the above-mentioned attributes but it comes from Volcán, a region not as ubiquitous for this varietal and these flavour characteristics.

Another topic that prompted discussion is the processing debate surrounding the geisha varietal. Does natural processing "cover" or "hide" the natural attributes of geisha? In the case of the winner from the "naturals" category, Don K from the Kotowa farm, no, natural processing does not take away from the elegance and cleanliness of the coffee. In the case of the second place winner, from Mama Cata, the natural process is more evident but the coffee is still lovely. Many of the 20 cuppers chose this one as their favourite.

And so, another interesting cupping with the London coffee community has come to an end. Thanks to all who came out to participate and to Lars and DunneFrankowski for providing an event and venue for this. Hope you enjoyed!

London Cupping, May 18 - the lineup

Hello London Coffee! Hope you're ready and excited to cup some fantastic coffee today. Here is the lineup, organized by origin, varietal, then process.

Table #1: Highlights from Central America
 

COSTA RICA, various mills & regions Helsar de Zarcero mill, Arce, Caturra, washed Herbazu mill, Villa Sarchi, washed Herbazu mill, Caturra, red honey

GUATEMALA, Buena Vista mill, Antigua region Hunapu, lot #1, blend Bourbon, washed Hunapu, lot #3, blend Bourbon, washed Felicidad farm, Bourbon, washed Potrero farm, Caturra, washed

HONDURAS, San Vicente mill, Santa Barbara region Juan Pablo Cruz, prod. Pacas, washed Castellanos, prod. Pacas, washed Nelson Ramirez, prod. Yellow Catuaí, washed Mario Moreno, prod. Pacas, washed Miguel Moreno, prod. Pacas, washed Amado Fernandez, prod. Yellow Catuaí, washed


Table #2: Best of...Best of Panama 2012

PANAMA, various producers/mills, Chiriqí region Duncan Organic farm, Caturra, washed (BoP #1) Don Julian farm, Pacamara, washed (BoP #2) Elida farm, Catuaí, washed (BoP #4) Elida farm, Catuaí, honey (BoP #5)

Los Cantares farm, Geisha, washed (BoP #1) La Milagrosa farm, Geisha, washed (BoP #2) Rojas farm, Geisha, washed (BoP #3)

Don K farm, Geisha, natural (BoP #1) Mama Cata farm, Geisha, natural (BoP #2) Casa Ruiz farm, Baby Geisha, natural (BoP #3)


Table #3: Highlights of natural processed coffees from El Salvador

El Salvador, various mills & regions Presented by Graciano Cruz, HiU

May 10 Cuppings in Gothenburg

img_6789.jpeg

Last Thursday Da Matteo roastery graciously hosted Collaborative cuppings for roasters interested in buying incoming coffees from Honduras and Panama. Since Giancarlo was also in Sweden at the time, Virmax took the opportunity to present on varietals in Colombia - specifically in the Santander, Valle del Cauca and Huila regions. El Roble is a state-of-the-art farm Kaffa started buying from last year and during this cupping, we presented three varietals from this farm (caturra, bourbon and typica), as well as a geisha from Cerro Azul Estate and a caturra from Omar Viveros' farm.

In attendance were representatives from Åre Kafferosteri, Johan & Nyström, Kahls kafferosteri, Dear Coffee, I Love You, Coffee and Memories, First Degree Coffee and Kaffemaskenin. From Santa Barbara in Honduras, 18 lots were cupped; 6 lots from the Los Angeles, Helsar and Don Mayo Mills in Costa Rica were selected; 1 lot each from the Yukro and Hawa Yember washing stations in Ethiopia were sampled; and finally, a variety of coffees from the Don Pepe, Lerida and Esmeralda farms in Panama were presented.

In general, cuppers were very excited about the Honduran and Ethiopian lots and felt that the Costa Rican lots were very clean but perhaps lacking in distinctness and character, in comparison to some of the others. Also of interest, and leading to much discussion, were the differences in cup profiles of the different varietals coming from El Roble, as well as the naturally processed geishas from Panama. Cuppers felt the Honduran coffees presented cleanly, distinctly (i.e. varietals as well as locations), with many exotic fruit notes, intensity and sweetness.

With respect to the geishas, we decided to dedicate a table to coffees from Esmeralda, specifically from the Jaramillo farm. Back in 2006, Robert asked the Petersons to begin separating lots from different areas of Jaramillo and year after year, he has preferred coffee from "Mario's area" (Mario is one of the people who live on this part of the farm). Even more specifically, Robert has cupped at various times this year and is most interested in pickings from February and March.

So, based on feedback we've received from last Thursday's cuppings in Gothenburg and in addition to prior organizing, we are in the process of finalizing shipments from Honduras and Panama. To allow for further contribution, we are hosting a cupping in London this Friday at Prufrock so that UK roasters can participate. News from this event to follow...

Until then,

Melanie

Best of Panama 2012

5598674687_dcd7bb60be_b.jpg

Robert has been in Panama this week reprising a role as Head Judge for Best of Panama. The first couple of days were spent cupping with the national jury, to decide what to present for the international jury with cuppings for this panel starting today and continuing through to Saturday.

For those of you unfamiliar with this competition, Best of Panama began "in 1996, during the crisis of low international prices of coffee and the beginning of Special Coffees category and a high global demand, a group of 7 coffee producers from the areas of Boquete and Volcan – Candela got together to form the SCAP to promote Panama's excellent coffee."

This year is groundbreaking due to the splitting up of the competition, into three separate, based on processing and/or varietal:

  1. 16 washed submissions (all varietals)
  2. 10 washed submissions (geisha)
  3. 12 natural submissions (of which 4 are geisha)

The above submissions have made it past the national panel and will be cupped by the international one.

Panama has been a special origin country for us and KAFFA has been buying and establishing good relationships with partners here and the Collaborative is looking forward to benefitting from these. Stay tuned for news about this week's competition from Robert.

 The calm before the cupping storm

The calm before the cupping storm