Yay! I love Panamanian coffee—mild, delicate floral and brown sugary sweet cups that are sheer Nirvana at a light roast. It was a light-roast washed Bourbon from Boquete that first made me a coffee drinker to begin with. What a revelation—Coffee can have flavor that isn’t bitterness and burned tires!
Anyway, the lovely traditional Panamanian stuff went away about ten years ago as coffee leaf rust (roya), land speculation and low coffee prices caused many of the farmers to quit coffee altogether. Some didn’t, however, and they looked for more disease-resistant varietals that would fetch a higher price, one more in line with the cost of growing high-end coffee. They found one, and it has been very successful. Moreover, its margin allows farmers to economically produce some more familiar kinds of specialty-grade coffee as well.
Over the last decade, gesha (sometimes spelled geisha but not related to the Japanese courtesan) has been successfully grown in Western Panama, and it has gained a following among light-roast enthusiasts. Gesha is an Ethiopian cultivar with a very floral flavor and a high price (would be $40/lb or more.) I think it tastes like a cross between black tea and coffee. I don’t generally stock it because it’s way more expensive than our other offerings and appeals to a very few. Still, if you ever want Gesha, email me. I’ll price it out and get back to you. Meanwhile give thanks for Gesha; it’s why I can get some delicious Bourbon and Typica lots, like the one coming back to our offering list next week. Yay!
Enjoy your coffee!