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The 2013 Panama Sourcing Trip (Day 1 & 2)

from Mike Perry

DAY 1:

After a red eye into San Salvador, transfer to San Jose Costa Rica, and a prop plane jump to Panama; Wilford Lamatus of Elida Estate and Francisco Serracin of Don Pachi picked me up. We drove from David to Boquete where Francisco was dropped off to prep the cupping while we visited Elida Estate, the farm of Wilford’s Father. To my surprise we saw many many red and green cherries still on the trees. Wilford says he will be picking past our Memorial Day. Despite coffee, the farm grows different blackberries and the best tree tomatoes I have ever enjoyed. After touring the farm and mill we stopped to see Wilford’s father on the way back to cupping. He was relaxing on the front porch in the same house Wilford was born in 40+ years ago. The Sr. Lamatus, now in his 80’s, was spry and witty as we enjoyed a good time. But the cupping was about ready so we hustled to the SCAP (Specialty Coffee Association of Panama) lab to start working.

Here we cupped multiple tables of great coffee from Elida Estate, El Burro Estate (Wilford’s Farm), and Don Pachi (Francisco’s Farm) till late in the evening. While I favor a great washed coffee, Wilford has become famous for his Naturals and Honeys. We were the first buyer of Elida Natural when I found this coffee many years ago and Wilford was one of our first Direct Trade partners. Because of this long-term relationship, Wilford allows us to cup all his daily micro lots to find the ones we like best. Those who love this coffee know we have received scores of 95 points and deservedly so; clean-sweet blueberries, strawberries and citrus explode in your mouth, so balanced and sweet. As we always run out of his coffee, this year we increased our order and as a surprise to our customers will have some washed and honey processed from Wilford as well. Back to the cupping we found a couple killer lots for this year but as we need more, Wilford is sending me another 20 samples to choose from upon my return home.

DAY 2:

Another great Panama family we have a long-term relationship with is the Peterson Family of Hacienda Esmeralda. Early Tuesday I was picked up by Rachel Peterson to drive to their mill and lab to cup potential auction lots of their famous Geisha. Because of the success of the Esmeralda Geisha, winning virtually every coffee competition they have entered, there is a huge demand for this coffee. Unable to satisfy all of their customers and coffee friends, the Peterson Family became the first estate to hold an Internet auction for their coffee. While I was not able to buy any of coffee we cupped (since it will be auctioned off), I look forward to cupping these coffees again in the Klatch Lab and bidding for the best Geisha Esmeralda has to offer.

Following the tour of the mill and full morning cupping, we walked across the street to the home of Price Peterson and his wife Susan for lunch. Price is the family patriarch, and while not responsible for bringing Geisha to Panama (Don Pachi was), he is the one who made it famous. During a fantastic lunch of farm grown Boquete salmon, Susan (Price’s wife) and a friend shared with us the volunteer work they were doing to bring food to the less fortunate in one charity while helping animals in another. It was wonderful to see how they give back so much to the local community and people of Panama. Speaking of giving to the community, I learned Price was instrumental in bringing a Public Library to Boquete. Though Boquete is a very small town, the new library is 3 stories tall and has one of Boquete’s only elevators. Also unique, they loan out books for free to people. While this is common and taken for granted in the US, it is the first of its kind in Panama. After lunch we again hooked up with the Serracin Family of Francisco, Francisco and Francisco. It seems all the men in the Serracin Family are named Francisco. So we were with grandfather (4th generation farmer), father (5th generation farmer) and son (6th generation musician and farmer to be). We toured the farm and walked the Geisha trail where the 1st Geisha were planted in Panama by Francisco (grandfather) in 1963.

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The 2013 Panama Sourcing Trip (Day 1 & 2)
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