Panama Los Lajones August 29 2013, 0 Comments

Graciano Cruz calls the Los Lajones Estate his "playground". Sitting on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the Cordillera Central,  Graciano waves his arm towards the pristine valley, which was formed by Volcán Barú, Panama's largest peak, and the Río Caldera. This region is more commonly referred to as Boquete by coffee buyers and enthusiasts, alike. The small town is celebrated as hosting the finest coffees in the world. Famous examples include the Don Pachi estate, which won the Best of Panama competition in 2011 for its Geisha naturally-processed coffee, and also fetched some of the highest prices ever for green beans. 

    There is good reason why Graciano would consider purchasing the estate in 1992 to one day turn into his personal "coffee playground". This area has cool annual climates, providing extended sugar development in the cherries. Thick, turgid fog  passes through the valley each day, allowing the shrubs to bathe in humid conditions which is ideal for plant maturation. As harvesting begins, these coffee cherries are left to dry on raised African beds, built entirely out of bamboo grown on the estate itself. Since 2003, Graciano has maintained an organically certified farm where  247 of the 395 acres are devoted to primary forest. This aspect keeps environmental impact at a minimum.

Our infatuation with this coffee began with its passion-fruit aroma. The cup has an amazing  sparkling sweetness, only possible through Graciano's meticulous processing of Los Lajone's ripest cherries. These flavors are saturated within a rich body, coalescing into orange creamsicle. By the middle of the cup the coffee's innate flavors, aroma and roast characteristics combine as viscous tangy fruit clings to the entire palate. Belated flavors of malted chocolate finish cleanly, concurrently eliciting hibiscus flower through retro-nasal olfaction. This coffee can be interpreted numerous ways in a variety of brew methods, each producing a novel experience.

Robert Rybak