Sunday, March 29, 2009

Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama

You can find more photos here on Flickr.

Just before I left Copenhagen, we had cupped some 1 year old Geisha samples from La Esmeralda farm in western Panama. This is legendary coffee, but we didn´t expect it to have such a vivacy after 1 year. 

So my expectations were high when I met up with Daniel Peterson to see the farm.

It is a place with extreme differences in microclimate from one hillside to the other, precipitaton is generally high and can actually be twice as high just from side of the walley to the other.

I have to mention one more aspect of the climate i found fascinating before we move on -the wind. 

Wind is almost constant in the valley and can reach really high speed. David showed me some of the windbreakers they had grown, but even with robust plants and very narrow rows, the wind is sometimes unstoppable.

You could also build an almost solid wall of plants or any other material for that sake. But solid windbreakers is no good- at worst they can acually accelerate the wind just behind the screen. The wind takes a steep dive after a solid object. What you want is a more dispersed screen that let´s some of the wind filter through and thereby slow it down.

Anyhow, time for cupping after an intense tour of this beautiful farm- it is not only just wellkept, it is extremely beautiful. 

I got the chance to do some plain quality control cupping. Daniel remarked that this is maybe not the ideal cupping to expose for a potential buyer. 

But I beg to differ. Getting the chance to see what is going on at the farm everyday is very rewarding and tells rosteries like ours such a lot- even about the cups that are not on the table. 

Thanks for everything Daniel.

Rachel Peterson is Daniels sister who coordinated my visit, but couldn´t join us cupping unfortunately. Next time Rachel.

In the afternoon I got to walk around with a remarkable gentleman: Don Pachi Serracin at the F.S. Cafetaleros farm. A part of the farm is called Don Pachi. Through research and organisational skills, this man has done more than most to elevate the quality of coffee on his own Estate, around Bouqete and thoughout Panama. Don Pachi shared so much about coffee in general that I find it hard to know where to start. 

One of the things that did strike me was his mix of passion and sober realism.

To give you an example: The reason why the Geisha variety was brought to Panama, was that Don Pachi had heard that it was resistant to a disease common on many coffeetrees in the area.

I could easily have thought that it was an adventourus pursuit of a new taste in the coffee. 

Another example: Don Pachi talkes about how impractical the Geisha is to mantain and pick from. At the same time he admires its architecture and caresses every leaf as he walk through the fields. 

Thank you Ivette and Franscico Serracin making this visit possible. They are the next generation running the farm together with Don Pachi. 

A very memorable stay in Boquete.

You can find more photos here on Flickr.


Thompson Owen said...

nice pictures and comments mr. linus. the near hurricane force winds luckily did not affect all farms, but i was out west of where you were and the damage was intense. one plot would be stripped of nearly all leaves and across the way there was no damage. the problem is that a plant will only have the energy to produce leaves OR flowers once it is in this condition, and most likely not both. each node on the branch can produce either leaf or flower/fruit. so these damaged trees means low income for some farms next year. esmeralda was not that affected. -tom

Linus Törsäter said...

Hi Tom really enjoy seeing you diving deeper into the wind !

It must be very difficult to do farming in general in that area, with such big variations in climate from just one hill to the other.

Documentaries said...

great possting , you shoulded put more pics