Wrapping up this Central American trip was Panama.
My highlight of any trip to Panama is cupping the Geisha with Daniel Peterson of Hacienda La Esmeralda, and this trip was no exception. We cupped several tables, several farms and several lots. The final table was all Geisha and truly a delight. Besides the typical top auction lots north and south of the creek near Mario's house, we also cupped several lots from a newer and higher elevation up the mountain. Cupping blind, Daniel and I were amazingly similar in our scores and once again the lots near Mario's house were the best. Unfortunately, we are out of our current crop of Esmeralda but look forward to receiving more this year.
Another pleasure I'm very fond of in Panama is how all producers work together and help each other, which is a real plus as we grow and need to find more lots of great quality coffee. At Daniel's for example, I was also able to cup lots from other farmers, such as, Carlito of Carmen Estate and Ricardo of Kotowa and Duncan Estate. After cupping with Daniel I was able to meet with Jose David, a producer of Mama Cata and schedule a tour of his farms.
My craziest day was Friday, departure day back home but I could not leave without meeting Jose David at 6:30 in the morning to cup 40 coffees in his lab. Day prior I was able to tour his farm - for you coffee lovers Jose David plans to restore Boquete's oldest mill located on a hill above the city with a great view, he plans to include a café, cupping room and future cottages. During our cupping we found some gems and special lots with an incredible Geisha on our final table. This is the first time I have found a Geisha to rival those from Daniel. I of course loved it and wanted to learn more. Jose David shared it was from the Mama Cata farm, at an elevation similar to the Esmeralda Geisha in Jaramillo, he referred it as a nano lot (vs. micro lot) because the entire lot is only 60lbs.
With time running out, I grabbed the Geisha plus other top lots and raced to the airport for my flight from David, Panama to San Jose, Costa Rica, arriving just in time.
But my trip was not quite over, when I arrived in San Jose I grabbed a taxi to once again cup more lots from the best of Costa Rica with Ricky. Cerro Paldo, Helzar, and a possible new farm from Assoproaa, which all sparkled and kicked some serious @$$. But everything has to come to an end and since Ricky's lab is across town from the airport I had to race back to catch my flight home.
From San Jose they diverted us to San Salvador where everyone had to get off the plane, go back through security and re-board. I finally arrive home around 1am, 3am in Central America time. A long day with four International Airports plus two great cupping's to complete, all and all, a fruitful and hectic trip. Now to the NCA's 99th Annual Convention and the Roaster Roundtable.