About Panama Don Julian Pacamara
This new (2017) crop Panama happens to be one of our all time favorites. This is a washed coffee, but the natural processed variation of this same coffee won 1st place in the Pacamara category in the 2017 Best of Panama and this coffee was highly regarded in the 2016 competition. Last season's coffee was awarded 95 points from Coffee Review at our sister company. At the competition the Pacamara category has been expanding as more producers try their hand at growing it, another of the exotic varieties grown in the area that has become known worldwide for its Geisha coffee. A couple of years ago were lucky enough to visit the farm where this incredible coffee is grown. Upon arrival to the farm it became clear that the extraordinary taste of the coffee is a direct result of the extraordinary characteristics of the farm. At first perusal you might assume you are walking through a nature conservatory where coffee trees are surrounded by plants and wildlife of all sorts and enormous shade trees pillar above. It is no accident that the farm is in such a state of preservation since the owner, Mrs. Burneskis, feels that the farm should be left in as natural a state as possible. She has a level of respect and connectivity for the coffee plants that really comes to light when you walk through the sprawling greenery. Her unconventional and untamed methods of managing her farm are evident in the cup, giving the consumer an experience that starts with the nurturing mentality of Mrs. Burneskis and her dedicated staff and ends with a stellar and unique cup of coffee.
Please note that this coffee may not be available elsewhere in the US. There is only a small amount produced and most of it heads to Asia where there is a waiting market. Since we have been big supporters of this coffee for years, predating its award wins and growing reputation, Mrs. Burneskis wanted to make sure that we had at least a small allocation. The price is considerably higher than it was a few years ago but well worth it.
Pacamara is a varietal hybrid of Bourbon; it is a cross between the Pacas variety discovered in El Salvador and the very large Maragogype bean. The mixture at its best produces very deep, brothy flavors that always seem reminiscent of dark fruit like plums, raisins, prune. While not overbearing or something that is likely to become tiresome, Don Julian is pretty easy to pick out of a crowd. On the cupping table with seven other coffees in the same flight it was not difficult to know which it was. It was and is delightful.
The farm is located in Boquete Panama at about 1600 meters they have been growing Pacamara in its rich, black volcano soil for some years. We can remember tasting it in 2006 and it well may have been there at an earlier date. The growing area is in a protected tropical rainforest farm that gives a unique flavor, great acidity and bold body to form a richly complex cup.
A view of the Horqueta Mountains with the Barú Volcano in the distance.
This is the fifth year that we are able to offer this coffee which is otherwise hard to come by due to the majority of the market being located in Asia. We are pleased to have a relationship with this farm and look forward to maintaining it for years to come. The coffee after harvest underwent traditional washed processing at Casa Ruiz where it was later finish when dry milled. After purchasing the coffee was vacuum packed to our specifications and shipped in boxes to our roasting plant.
Can you find the coffee trees within this preserve?
Cup Characteristics: Chocolate and floral aromatics. Exotic, big prune, raisin, fig, plum flavors with a hint of portabello. Big, beefy Pacamara with dark fruit dominance. Hickory background notes and cedar. Lots of body; brooding, long finish. Big, sturdy and structured. A real achievement
Roasting Notes: This is high grown coffee and is a bit dense. It's a really flavorful coffee and is best suited for a Full City roast. We recommend you pull it before 2nd crack to get all of the nuances and background notes.
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.