Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Panama Coffee Competition 2006 Volcan, Bambito

The Specialty Coffee Association of Panama holds their own "Best of Panama" competition each year, and I have been part of the jury 3 times in the past. For the fourth time, April 2006, I decided on a new approach. First, I decided that it would enhance my tasting skills to take the absolute worst flight from San Francisco to Panama that I could possibly find ... for what would make coffee taste better than arriving with severe sleep deprivation. For this, I chose TACA airlines, the air transport equivalent of the "local bus" that stops every other block. You leave SFO at 1:45 in the morning, and arrive in David Panama 18 hours and 5 flights later, bruised, dehydrated, catatonic, and ready to taste the finest that Panama has to offer. Annoyingly, it seemed that then event organizers were determined to distract me from focusing on the coffee. I noticed immediately the sly psychological tactics used to draw attention away from what was in the cup (fragrance, aroma, flavor, aftertaste) and refocus it on peripheral distractions. First, there were the cupping tables, at least 4 feet tall, and the support staff, dressed in bright orange, and uniformily 4 feet 3 inches tall. Did they think I wouldn't notice? I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know what's going on here. Then I saw how efficient the event was organized this year. Everything was perfect, in fact, a little too perfect. In itself, the"perfectishness" of the surroundings was another way they were trying to get me to forget about the coffee, to lure attention away, toward other things. But to what end? And the cupping form ... what's up with that? I am used to the 8 part Cup of Excellence cupping form, and the 10 part SCAA cupping form, so why they 23 part form with 6 pages and a short essay section ... for each coffee? Isn't this going too far? And last of all, the other "judges." I know a lot of people in the coffee world, but I didn't recognize the majority of these "coffee tasters". And the ones I did know, well, something just wasn't right. I have heard of the CIA's School of the Americas, so I know the way things work. I am not a naive dupe, who thinks "everything is as it seems," but I was surprised at the level of chicanery ... no, that is too light of a word ... nefariousness, nefariousity, nefararacily. And I can't even talk about the other things I saw ... like a certain unnamed cupper from Green Mountain handing a note to a certain person from Intelligentsia with what looked like secret blending formulas (I read something like this: 5 parts of part 1, blend with 3 parts of part 2 ... and so on). And then the guy from Stumptown was launching paper airplanes around the cupping room that read "I am so going to kick your *%#." Then Green Mountain was making offers to buy Intelligentsia, and Peets offered to buy Stumptown, and Stumptown was trying to buy Boyds, who wasn't even there. And they all were telling me how home roasting is the next "big thing" and they are all launching home roasting web sites and their own no-brainer, smoke-free home roasting machines. And all this was to prevent me, a guy who just wants to cup good coffee, from focusing on the task at hand. But to the chagrin of all, I WAS able to cup through all this, and I wound up winning the "Best Coffee Cupper" award, which turned out to be a year's subscription of roasted coffee from either Green Mountain Newman's Own K-Cup Coffee or Peets E-Cup Major Eric Dickerson's. What's going on with that??? So below, in 2 pages of photos, is the unadulterated truth of what really happened in Panama at the coffee comeptition, April 2006. Crime and Intrigue? Hardly. Worth a few minutes of your time? Sure, why not.

Page 1  |  Page 2
IMG_3487.JPG
Panama, Panama, Panama ... 2006 Best of Panama coffee cupping competition. a clue to the pronunciation here: an accent on the ma. it's pan-a-MA!
IMG_3411.JPG
Usual photo of the judges... lotsa judges.
IMG_3417.JPG
... the judges butts. Don Holly is not falling for it.
IMG_3419.JPG
All the folks who assisted in the cupping event.
IMG_3395.JPG
I noticed a poster on the dreaded coffee broca which came to Panama about five years ago. It only effects the lower grown coffees.
IMG_3396.JPG
Lampa, musica, tv controls. the lamp works.
IMG_3399.JPG
Cups after a round of cupping
IMG_3400.JPG
The butt chair, hotel bambito.
IMG_3401.JPG
Fine, fine house where we had a lunch in Volcan, Panama
IMG_3402.JPG
Francisco Serracin of Don Pache estate - the original farm with Gesha cultivar, brought from an experimental garden in Costa Rica. Duane of stumptown and myself, brown shirted, bought this coffee in the 2005 auction.
IMG_3406.JPG
flowers, fog
IMG_3408.JPG
Kustom Bus - green and aqua was the theme, with super tuff green fog lights. Cerro Punto rocks.
IMG_3410.JPG
The touble with tribbles? They were all slaughtered to provide a fuzzy aqua window garnish for the Cerro Punta express.
IMG_3420.JPG
Mmmm? or iccchhh! This at the wonderful Cerro Bruja gore-met restaurant which can be found in a little house, up a little dirt road, outside of Volcan.
IMG_3427.JPG
Caturra, 1 year old, planted at Carmen Estate new plot, 2006 meters.
IMG_3431.JPG
Bamboo, carmen estate. I like bamboo...
IMG_3433.JPG
Is it native chusquea? It is a climbing bamboo. Is it guadea? I do not know...
IMG_3434.JPG
ditto
IMG_3440.JPG
Soil on Carmen Estate needs calcium, not organic calcium, but mineral calcium. There is a difference.
IMG_3441.JPG
Our coffee, 1800 meters and up, from Carmen Estate
IMG_3442.JPG
Another view of the high plot at Carmen Estate where our coffee comes from.
IMG_3443.JPG
Green unripe cherry and flowers. Carmen Estate has a lot of catuai rojo, but this appeared to be caturra
IMG_3446.JPG
More beautiful, fresh coffee flowers...
IMG_3449.JPG
more fresh coffee flowers.
IMG_3451.JPG
Amazing tree on Carmen Estate providing shade for cofffee trees.
IMG_3461.JPG
Forest at Finca Carmen
IMG_3463.JPG
A close up view of another amazing tree.
IMG_3466.JPG
Underside of a fallen leaf
IMG_3467.JPG
Catuai at the lower altitudes (1400 meters) at Carmen Estate, Volcan, Panama
IMG_3471.JPG
Darn big typica tree
IMG_3477.JPG
Roadside view at Paso Ancho, Volcan area, with the Baru volcano in the distance
IMG_3481.JPG
Watch out, neighborhood vigilantes have their eye on you (literally).
IMG_3482.JPG
The neighborhood store, owned by a relative of Carlos
IMG_3484.JPG
Stocking up the shop
IMG_3485.JPG
Hanging out on the street corner
IMG_3488.JPG
Keychain tags for sale in Volcan.

Yes. there is more.

Page 1  |  Page 2


The Complete Sweet Maria's Coffee Library Page
- Coffee Travel Pictorials, New Product Reviews, Roasting Pictorials, and more

 

Green Coffee Beans 70+ Selections Hearthware I-Roast 2 Fresh Roast Home Coffee Roasters - Two Models Gene Caffe Drum Roaster
Behmor 1600 HotTop Drum Roaster Stovetop Popper Roasting Espresso Equipment & Accessories
Nesco Home Coffee Roaster Technivorm Electric Brewers Chemex Coffee Brewers Coffee Bags: for green and roasted
Zassenhaus Hand-Crank Mills Nissan & Zojirushi Travel Cups/ Bottles Vacuum Brewers: Cona, Yama Coffee Cleaning Supplies
Espresso Machines: Giotto Professional and Premium, Rancilio Silvia, Andreja Premium , Gaggia, Coffee Books
Miscellany and Sweet Maria's T-Shirts
Electric Coffee Mills: Mazzer Mini, Maestro, Rancilio Rocky, Bodum Manual Drip Brewing
Our Roasted Coffee French Press Coffee Brewing Ibrik: Turkish Coffee Brewing Mokapot: Stovetop Espresso