Thursday, July 29, 2010

August Coffee of the Month: Panamanian Boquette

Coffee from Panama isn't quite as overhyped as Jamaican Blue Mountain. However, there is a cult following behind the coffee that has always landed me in a tough position. Do I really shell out the extra dough for a coffee that I'm sure isn't worth the price?

My dad once asked me if any coffee could worth $50 per pound (roasted). A few years ago, I answered him, "Absolutely!". Now, on the producing side of things, I think not.

However, much like in wine, we try to get people to focus on the region, not the bean or the estate itself. A sommelier once told me, "There is no such thing as a good vintner. There is no such thing as a good vintage. There is only a good bottle of wine."

I started working full-time for Blanchard's in November of 2008, and tried to get some Panamanian Boquette as my first order of business. I'd heard so many podcasts and read so many articles about this coffee, and it was really the only coffee that, had you asked me, I would have said I wanted to try. (That was before I met Bali and Dominican, of course).

Our broker was out of it, at the time though. The following year, we got so bogged down in our seasonal blends for Ukrop's that we didn'ttry too many new and exciting coffees (except for beloved Bali).

This year, finally. Finally. Finally. I was able to score some of the Boquette.

I took my first sip of it on Wednesday, after we roasted our tasting batch. It was a strange moment that I don't think I'm likely to forget anytime soon. It was as if the world around me paused and muted for just a second, because the full, round richness of this coffee was the most important thing in the universe.

Once I regained footing in this dimension, I just said, "Wow."


It took me awhile before I was able to start pulling out strands of flavors from this coffee. It's got so many layers and textures it was a little overwhelming a task to take. Jonathan assisted me in blurting things out, and David added a few words later on. This is the list of stuff we said:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Textured
  • Orange Zest
  • Almond Butter
  • Buttery
  • Teleport
  • Lush
  • Raspberry Tart
  • Clean
  • Doesn't Linger
  • Indulgent
  • Lemon

This is a sit-and-talk coffee. An afternoon conversation coffee. A tell-me-about-your-trip coffee.

A real treat. Now, we love you guys, but we didn't get the crazy expensive stuff. And I'm glad we didn't. Because this tells me everything I need to know, and I can't imagine anything more expensive being a whole lot better. This stuff is phenom.


If you have it delivered to your house via Dena, it'll be there tomorrow. Jonathan took the post office orders this afternoon, so we're hoping you have it Monday or Tuesday.

Shop-goers and online-orderers: It will be available in both of these places starting on Tuesday, and we'll be brewing at it at the South of the James Market on Saturday, 8/7.

Keep brewing!


sic luceat lux

1 comment:

  1. Tom - pure poetry! I can't wait to try it...