In the world of coffee the competition is fierce.
All over the world you will find battling coffee regions where a cupping competition decides who truly has the best.
Each region has a unique quality making the coffee special, and the deeper you look into a specific region micro lots of coffee are discovered. These micro lots, if cultivated properly, produce the finest coffees in the world.
You may have heard of these coffees; Kona, Geisha, Jamaica Blue Mountain or El Boton.
But how did you hear about these coffees? Competition.
How about these coffee growing regions; Panama, Colombia, or Kenya, heard of them?
There is a place you aren’t likely familiar with, Boquete, Panama the home to around 250 coffee farms including our very own, Finca Santa Barbara.
Now a bio-diverse, nutrient rich coffee farm, this coffee farm was once trampled cattle grazing land with little-to-no native canopy remaining.
We reconditioned the soil with organic material composted with California red worms. Then we planted 82,000 trees, including native species, which is now habitat to thousands of birds and animals as well as providing shade to our coffee trees.
These shade grown Catuai coffee trees, harvested in January of 2016, were traditionally wet-milled, sun-dried and light roasted by the judges of the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama annual, Best Of Panama competition.
For 20 years this association has set to elevate the awareness of the Boquete & Volcan regions of Panama. With 30 grower members, the association has hosted the Best Of Panama cupping competition in which regional member growers submit coffees to be judged by men & women from all over the world.
The panel of international judges cupped 130 coffees over 11 days and on 5.14.16 this distinguished group of coffee professionals selected our very own Santa Barbara Catuai as the Best Of Panama in the Traditional Washed category.
To learn more about the competition, the region and what it takes to produce an award winning coffee we interviewed Hunter Tedman, our Panama General Manager & Agronomy Director in Panama.
Hi Hunter, really quick how long have you been with SFB Coffee?
A coffee veteran. Great, so let's talk about the Best Of Panama cupping competition.
How many years have you been entering the competition?
This is our first year in the competition.
And how many SFB coffees were submitted?
We entered with 2 coffees:
First was in the Traditional Washed Category.
Lot name: La Huaca Catuai
Farm: Hacienda Barbara, Boquete
Second was in the Innovation Category.
Lot name: La Escondida Geisha
Farm: Hacienda Barbara, Boquete
In your opinion, what does it take to produce an award winning coffee?
First, I think it all starts with a great farm, with good altitude (5200 feet above sea level), a special microclimate, volcanic soils, in the wine industry you would call this “terroir”.
Second, a sound agronomy program that keeps our plants healthy and strong, able to give all their potential.
Third, a clean and efficient process that maintains and enhances the flavors and aromas of those coffee beans.
How do you feel now that you have won this coveted prize?
We are all very excited down here, Panama is known to have one of the best coffees in the world, winning one of the Best of Panama categories is a huge deal.
We all work really hard to produce the best coffee that we can, so being recognized by a group of very renowned judges makes us very proud of our work.
There is a lot of people producing incredible coffees, this pushes us to keep experimenting, learning and developing new ways of producing and processing.
Thanks for the interview, Hunter. Congratulations again to you and the team.
Do you want try this award winning coffee?
We have freshly roasted Panama Catuai in stock, but only in a limited quantity.
Panama Catuai; a special coffee variety requiring a delicate touch and constant attention. Cultivated in our high altitude farm, Finca Santa Barbara, the volcanic soils and micro-climate nurtured these special coffee trees into an award winning coffee. In each lively cup, the faint aromas of citrus and roasted nuts give way to sweet flavors of caramel and milk chocolate.
Panama Catuai – a refined coffee grown to be savored.