Highlands’ producers of the western province of Chiriquí, in Panama, began the selection of the best special coffee beans for the international tasting that will take place next May and which has become the most important commercial event in the sector.
"The quality of the product starts from the moment of the selection of the farm and the geographical territory where the plant will grow, hence we know what coffee will have good quality and will be competitive," producer Plinio Antonio Ruiz, of Casa Ruiz, in Boquete, told Acan-Efe.
At the 22nd International Tasting "The Best of Panama", 150-pound coffee lots will participate and must be delivered no later than the last week of April.
Producers must deliver batches to the Special Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP), which organizes the tasting, and a firm of auditors will classify the samples. From there, none of the judges knows the origin of the samples until the final moment of the award.
The tasting, which will take place from May 22 to 26 in the mountainous town of Boquete (Chiriquí), will be administered by 19 fine coffee experts from the United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Japan and other European countries.
Also invitees from Asia, the United States and Europe will witness the competition between special geisha cafes, pacamaras and traditional varieties such as typica, caturra, catuai, mundo novo, among others.
The geisha is the star of the special coffees of Panama. In 2017, a batch of that grain from Hacienda La Esmeralda was sold at a record price of 601 dollars per pound (454 grams) and this year.
The SCAP member, Francisco Serrasín, told Acan-Efe that the organization of the tasting includes the profile of roasting, tasting, and calibration of the points to be evaluated among the judges.
In the edition of this 2018 new software will be implemented with the aim of optimizing the evaluation time of the judges. Changes will be applied, such as that the grains with honey processes (the coffee that dries with the mucilage) will enter the category of the natural coffees and not the washed coffees as it happened before, and new producers will participate, said the SCAP.