Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another photo so you can all see how cupping is set up...

Well, it didn't end up being the last day at Panama. One more day...our flight into Miami got cancelled! Did you hear about the fuel tank explosion at the airport? 4 days of flights were cancelled. We ended up meeting back with the Aussies from class and enjoyed Panama City.

What an adventure! Panama was beautiful!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hi everyone! Last day at Panama! Today, as usual, we did a hike. Tony ran down this big rocky hill and sprained his ankle. Swollen and red, he still managed to make it back to the farm. We visited another coffee farm and did more cupping. This time around, we cupped 6 coffees....all amazing! The Hartmann natural processed and Hartmann geisha were my favorites and scored the highest. You could really taste the fruit. This is the most we've cupped and I feel like we've really learned how to analyze some flavors. It was fun to be able to pick out such aromas and flavors as berry, lemon, caramel, dried fruit, and chocolate.

We also did some hands-on roasting on a Jabez Burns sample roaster and a Farina. Learned about roast development and roast profiling. Then some Q&A. I have to say, this class was absolutely amazing. We had an amazing group of people, and we bonded well with each other.

There were coffee shop owners like us, from Australia and LA. Then one who runs an NGO, a couple of wholesale roasters, and one who is opening a coffee shop in Bahamas in addition to many other ventures. And of course, the instructor Daniel was excellent. You could really tell his knowledge and feel his passion for coffee and the country. Thanks Daniel for a wonderful course.

Our last night, we had sing-alongs by the fire and talked even more about coffee...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This is a picture on top of Finca Sophia...the highest coffee farm in Panama. We hiked to almost the top by hand made paths, some only 3 feet wide and nothing on the side but greenery going straight down.

So busy! Plus today the electricity was out, so we couldn't even get hooked up by the main house.
Since there was no electricity, we did a nice hike around the farm. Remember the farm is pretty  big -- about 90 hectares, so about 225 acres. Most areas are very foresty. In fact today, we ran into some wild hogs (boars). Actually we heard them very close by, and they make this grunting noise meaning to back off, or they will attack. This might mean that the mom is there with babies. So we turned around immediately...so no pictures. Sorry...
This afternoon, we did even more cupping, and also learning how to score them. More roasting...very technical roasting.
We are even working this evening after dinner. We are going to have a session at the lodge about sustainibility and the environment as it relates to coffee.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today's another busy day. We are going to visit 2 more farms in the area: Bambito Estates and Carmen Estates. They are still processing there so we will get hands on and be able to eat cherries. We will also do more coffee cupping.
At Bambito we actually saw the processing, and felt it. By feeling it, when they were processing the coffee, as they were removing the pulp and musilage through the demuscillage machine, you could dig your hands in the coffee. It smelled of fruit!
Later this afternoon, we will cup even more. We will be cupping all Panama coffees.

Then, later this evening we will be meeting and having dinner with Willem Boot.
More pictures later...
On Tuesday, when we went to Finca Sophia, we were lucky enough to have the manager of the farm Kelly give us this tour. He is so passionate and so informative about coffee. Here is my favorite quote of his...

When someone from the group asked him 'How long have you been in coffee?'
His answer is... We eat because of coffee, we educate ourselves because of coffee, we have work because of coffee, we raise our children because of coffee.
'You share this information, because it comes back to you'.
Here is Jill and I with Kelly and Tessie Hartmann...