Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 35 of 107

the corner. We roasted, cupped, and talked process and the state of Geisha in general. Most of the coffee growers we spoke to agreed that one of the most important facts in establishing Panama as a leading quali- ty-coffee-producing country is the establishment of the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama. This created a forum for the coun- try's coffee growers to meet, pool resources, and, most important, share information. Sitting around the table with some of the most high-profile coffee producers in Panama, we were genuinely impressed with how openly they talked about every aspect of their coffee production with each other. They shared ideas, tips, and insights. The consensus was, "What's good for my neighbor is good for Panama, is good for me." Two of them implied that they share almost everything with their friends, but they keep that last 1 per- cent of secrets to themselves. Trekking up the Baru Volcano to visit the bamboo fields that act as shade and sun protection for the succulent Geisha trees was mind-blowing. As we stood among the fully blooming Geisha under the shade of the bamboo trees at 2,000 meters above sea level, watching the evening mist roll over the valley below us in the foot- hills of the impressive Baru Volcano, we were all speechless. The only word that came to mind to describe the moment, not to men- tion the overall amazing experience we'd had during these 10 days in Panama, was Graciano Cruz's favorite expression: "Sweeeeet." Spending time with Rachel and Daniel Peterson at Hacienda La Esmeralda was, of course, a great thrill. The Petersons are widely regarded as having been instrumental in creating the culture for Geisha to thrive as it has for the last 10 years. Back in the mid 2000s, there was a discussion about what made a good Panamanian coffee. Was it what people expected from a well-processed Catuai from great volcanic soil? Or could it be any- thing—as long as it tasted great? In 2004, Daniel tasted one of the coffees his father, Price, had planted decades earlier on the family farm. It didn't taste like what was the norm for Panama, but he thought it tasted great, and it seemed to be disease resistant. That coffee, of course, was Geisha, From le , Oskar, Joseph Brodsky, and Alexander at Ninety Plus surrounded by the coffee that Oskar used to win the 2013 Swedish Barista Championship. PANAMA 36 barista magazine B o o k 1 - 5 4 . i n d d 3 6 Book 1-54.indd 36 3 / 2 4 / 1 4 7 : 1 1 A M 3/24/14 7:11 AM

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