Coffee review: Paradise Roasters Panama Carmen Estate

by on October 6, 2007

Plainspoken Coffee. A Coffee Review for Ordinary People by Ordinary People, #28.

It’s taken too long to get around to reviewing coffee from one of the most well-known coffee farms in the world that is marketed as sustainable, Panama’s Carmen Estate. Although often available from a variety of roasters, this review will feature a top boutique roasters. Let’s look at Paradise Roaster’s Panama Carmen Estate 1750 Reserve.

Carmen Estate is located in Chiriqui province near the town of Paso Ancho (you can input these coordinates into Google Earth or Maps for the exact location: 8.823611, -82.631944). It is Rainforest Alliance certified, and 60% of the property is native forest. It is not certified organic; I know they use some non-organic soil amendments such as calcium. They grow cataui, caturra, and typica varieties, which are represented in this lot.

Carmen Estate has won the following honors:

  • 2003, Best of Panama Cupping for Quality competition: 3rd place (88.05 pts)
  • 2005, Best of Panama Cupping for Quality competition: 3rd place (92.54 pts)
  • 2005, Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality competition: 1st place (90.75 pts)
  • 2006, Best of Panama Cupping for Quality competition: 3rd place (89.71 pts)
  • 2006, Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality competition: 2nd place (88 pts)
  • 2007, Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality competition: 2nd place (88.96 pts)
  • 2007, Best of Panama Cupping for Quality competition: 5th place (89.35)

Paradise’s 1750 Reserve is a special micro-lot from the top elevations of the farm (one might assume at 1750 meters, but I’ve read elsewhere it’s from even higher), although the “lowest” elevation of the farm is about 1450 meters — higher than the top locations of many farms.

I have to say, the Miguel Meza, head roaster at Paradise, sure knows how to roast coffee. I may have had some coffee from them I wasn’t crazy about (although none come to mind), but it was never the fault of the roast. He can really read a bean.

This was a light roast, with a truly room-filling, delicious aroma when ground. In the French press, it had all the best characteristics of a classic Central American: very sweet, with understated candy-like caramel tones, a hint of chocolate, and a light body, although not quite as bright and acidic as some Centrals. It was nicely balanced, and consistent as it cooled. Some of its delicate subtlety was, as expected, lost in a drip preparation. This is a great warm-weather coffee, as reviewers felt it was light and refreshing, perhaps even a little on the delicate side. It’s one of those very enjoyable coffees that you can drink all day. As we’ve said many times, it’s hard to really describe a classic Central, but this is as good as they come. It just made me feel….happy.  3.75 motmots.

Review of this coffee from Coffee Cuppers here.

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Revised on January 20, 2011

Posted in Coffee reviews,Latin America

Jacklyn Smith October 6, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Coffee puts the system under the strain of metabolizing a deadly acid-forming drug, depositing its insoluble cellulose, which cements the wall of the liver, causing this vital organ to swell to twice its proper size. In addition, coffee is heavily sprayed. (Ninety-two pesticides are applied to its leaves.) Diuretic properties of caffeine cause potassium and other minerals to be flushed from the body.

All this fear went away when I quit, and it was a book that inspired me to do it [free book promotion deleted] There are five things I liked about this book:

1) It details–thoroughly–the ways in which caffeine may damage your health.

2) It reveals the damage that coffee does to the environment. Specifically, coffee was once grown in the shade, so that trees were left in place. Then sun coffee was introduced, allowing greater yields but contributing to the destruction of rain forests. I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere else.

3) It explains how best to go off coffee. This is important. If you try cold turkey, as most people probably do, the withdrawal symptoms will likely drive you right back to coffee.

4) Helped me find a great resource for the latest studies at [web site promotion deleted]

5) Also, if you drink decaf you won’t want to miss this special free report on the dangers of decaf available at [another web site promotion deleted]

BirdBarista October 6, 2007 at 8:46 pm

Readers: I deleted the references in "Jacklyn's" comment to a book and two web sites. They were obviously self-serving, since if she even took a minute to read say, the title and header of this blog, or the About page, she might not have made an ass of herself with point number 2.

I Googled two sentences from this comment, and found it, word for word, on 79 different blog posts about coffee, all signed by different people.

I would have just deleted the whole comment, but Aaron's rebuttal was too good to delete and would have looked weird on its own! Thanks, Aaron.

Love, Farrah

Aaron October 6, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Dear Jacklyn: If you're that keen to not destroy your liver with vile coffee then maybe this isn't a site for you, as it is clearly, er, about coffee (and conservation). My guess is that most of the readers of this site are likely not going to convert away from coffee anytime soon regardless of the lovely (albeit partially outdated) factoids you just presented. We're glad you're now drug and fear-free; but please leave us to our own (de)vices. :)

Aaron October 9, 2007 at 9:28 am

Thanks. We're all about pithy cyber rebuttals. HERE'S TO MORE GREAT COFFEE AND CONVERSATION AND ROTTING OUT OUR LIVERS! (You gotta die of *some*thing!)

Bob S. October 25, 2007 at 9:32 am

Actually, what's so funny here is that almost all of the recent scientifically-validated data coming in shows Coffee to be one of the best agents for livers under stress in the world. Many Doctors now precribe coffee intake for patients with liver disease. Funny how truth works like that, eh?

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