Panama throws it’s hat in the ring for BEST COFFEE

Human Interest

This May 27 and after six days, the national tasting of the Best of Panama (BOP) 2023 ends, after analyzing 186 lots of 42 kilograms among the natural geisha, washed geisha and varietal varieties , announced the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP, for its acronym in English).

The SCAP announced that the national judges will select the best 24 lots of each category for the semifinal, later, they will choose the best 10 lots of each category for the final round. Until then, a panel of 19 judges from seven countries will choose the winning lots.

This year, both the national and international tastings are led by the Australian and head judge, Will Young, who was impressed with the quality of the first 20 varietal samples after experiencing “flavors and smells that he had never experienced as a rum from coconut and aromatic flowers, very strong flavors and smells”.

“What attracts me the most about Panama is the quality of its producers, they are very intelligent and the most knowledgeable about coffee that I have met in the world, they apply their intelligence and it shows in the coffee they produce,” said Young.

When coffee from Panama is mentioned in the international spice coffee industry, the first thing that comes to mind is geisha coffee , but many people now know that coffee from Panama is not only geisha , but that it is “innovation, they are things new and different,” he said.

The first tables of varietals were very interesting where sweetness and high acidity prevailed “they are very good and very interesting coffees”, commented the national judge, Tessie Palacio de Hartman; while his counterpart, Wilford Lamastus Jr., said that “varietals is a category that allows knowing many more non- geisha coffee varieties and they are very varied coffees, but the quality remains with the trend of high scores.”

In the first varietal tables, the judges found samples with scores higher than 90 points on a 100-point basis, a rare rating in non-geisha coffees.

“The varietal category is very mystical because we have many new varieties, there are experimental varieties, but they are varieties with a lot of potential, and that is why the BOP is to obtain the best of the best,” added Graciano Cruz Landero, also a national judge.

The judges evaluate in each sample: aroma, fragrance, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, intensity, body, uniformity, balance, clean cup, sweetness and defects with an evaluation time of not less than 34 minutes, which goes from when the coffee powder , the application of hot water until it cools, since each cup can offer between 800 to 1,000 components that give coffee its fragrance, aromas and flavors.

Once the BOP winner is selected, the lots go to the international electronic auction, where Panamanian specialty or gourmet coffees have gained worldwide renown for their price. In 2022, Lamastus Family Estates, in Chiriquí, auctioned off 25 lots of geisha coffee, a total of 1,762 pounds whose unit price reached $341.24 per pound.

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