About Panama Finca Auromar Geisha Natural
#4 Holiday Gift Coffee - Coffee Review! We offered a small amount of this coffee from last year's crop in our closeout section, and we are happy to be able to offer new crop this year as well.
Auromar Geisha from the farm of Roberto Brenes. This is a stunning example of the Geisha varietal from a relative newcomer to an already highly sophisticated coffee farming community of the Panama highlands.
Geisha, for those who may not be familiar, is a seed variety that is native to Ethiopia and probably a relative of the Longberry. Its shape is elongated and somewhat large. This seed was experimentally planted in Boquete Panama along with many other varieties as a test of what might grow well in this particular micro climate. The result was the birth of a superstar in the world of coffee. Originally planted and brought to celebrity by the Peterson family of Hacienda Esmeralda, this variety started to break price records and the reputation and market for this coffee continued to grow, with devotees throughout the world and especially in Asia and Australia.
- Name: Auromar Estate Geisha
- Growing Region: Jurutungo Candela, Volcan
- Varietal: Geisha 100%
- Elevation: 1600 meters (5250 feet)
- Processing: Natural
- Drying: African beds
Roberto Brenes is a really interesting person with interests well outside that of coffee farming. Farming coffee is what he plans to do through his retirement years and the land has been in his wife's family for generations. Roberto is also the head of the Panamanian stock exchange so he has a lot of knowledge of international finance; Panama because of its location and the canal in particular, is a tremendously growing country with interests from all over the globe. Panama City, the capital, is sometimes referred to as the Dubai of the Americas and a place where there is much international investment. It wasn't always that way. During the Noriega years when under dictator rule, Panamanians suffered and lived in fear. A younger Brenes was an outspoken critic of the Noriega regime and was twice exiled from the country, something of a badge of honor when looking back on it. Educated in Panama through secondary school Brenes went to Columbia University in New York where he earned an MBA, which led him to work in banking when he returned to his country. Later, while exiled and in South America he elevated his career to investment banking. Post Noriega and exile, when Panama was coming out from under dictatorship, Brenes was offered the role of Central Banker for the country. The zeal he brings to everything in his life is now being poured into his coffee farming and the results are obvious.
Brenes is engaged in Ironman triathlon competitions, for which he clearly has a love. We are happy to count ourselves among Roberto's friends and acquaintances and look forward to our next meeting.
Cup Characteristics: Very fruity and sweetly floral. Big, layered flavors of jasmine and hibiscus. Natural processing was very well done, making for fruit penetration that was pronounced but not overwhelming. The result is balanced, elegant, powerful and delicate all at once. A real achievement and one of the best we have cupped this year
Roasting Notes: Like most dense, hard bean and delicate coffees, we always suggest keeping it to the lighter roast side, maybe midway between first and second crack. This maximizes nuances, in this case the sweet acidity and floral Geisha notes that further roasting will diminish. Please note, this coffee throws off a good deal of chaff during roasting. If you're roasting on a Behmor keep the roast size under half pound and avoid opening the door.
Panama coffee facts:
Population (2006): 1.3 million people
Coffee Production: 180,000 bags (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds - 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: 80,000 bags
Coffee Export: 100,000 bags
Cultivated Area: 26,000 Hectares (64,200 acres)
Harvests: October - February
Arabica Introduced: Arabica was imported from Costa Rica in 1820.
Specialty Coffee Regions: Boquete near Volcan Baru, Chiriqui.
Grades: Strictly Hard Bean (SHB), HB.
Farms: About 30,000 farms.
Botanical Varietals: Typica, Caturra, Gesha.
Panama is a rising star in the specialty coffee world. In the Boquete in particular, farmers are taking Arabica coffee cultivation to new levels and recent auctions of small, specialty lots have garnered record, if not silly, prices. Nonetheless, some of the coffee is excellent. Gesha, a varietal that stems from Ethiopia, has been grown here with good success, yet other cultivars noted above, can produce superb results.