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Tue, 19 Dec 2006 17:37:00

Coffee of the day - Panama Hector Vargas La Milagrosa Lot B

Today’s coffee has a long name - Panama Hector Vargas La Milagrosa Lot B.  The beans were roasted yesterday 14.2 miles from where I am sitting.  I think the same driver that picked them up last night delivered them to me today, that’s how close this place is.  I should have just started the car and drove over, but the gas would have cost as much as shipping.  :)

Here’s what the roaster has to say about it:

Panama Hector Vargas La Milagrosa Lot B

In recent years the very top coffees from Panama are auctioned in the Best of Panama auction. The small lots being auctioned have already been distilled by a panel of professional cuppers from a larger group of entrants in a pre-auction competition. This live, internet auction is worldwide and attracts firms that seek exceptional coffees. This year 31 coffees were auctioned. In advance of the auction we roasted, cupped and compared all 31 in a process that takes a week. When finished we emerged with a small group of coffees we liked best and which we wished to acquire. The bidding was long, fierce and arduous and when completed we were successful at buying 2 of our picks. The first has been sold out and now we offer our favorite: Panama Hector Vargas La Milagrosa Lot B.

La Milagrosa Lot B from Hector Vargas’ farm Cafetales Don Alfredo is an intriguing coffee which belies a complex combination of varietals (by the way, it was much different than Lot A). This tiny lot of specially grown cherries blends Typica, Gesha and Catuai cultivars. The Gesha component is noteworthy, but not overbearing as it can sometimes be. Here it adds complexity and another layer of taste. A mere 650 pounds of this coffee is available and we have it all. While expensive, it is fairly priced.

Hector Vargas’ farm is in Panama’s Jaramillo, Boquete zone, near the Baru Volcano. This particular coffee is grown at 5400 elevation on a site which gets about 170 inches a year of rainfall.

Cup Characteristics: La Milagrosa Lot B is a mildly acidic coffee possessing a distinctive, subtly exotic flavor. It has both sweetness and citrus in the cup, with a lingering, chocolaty aftertaste. La Milagrosa is an exceptional coffee.

My feeling is that it’s not so much chocolate as it is a kind of roasted wood/roasted meat flavor.  It’s just amazing.  This is the first medium roast bean I have found that offers the strong, bold flavor of a darker roast without that bitter, heavy flavor darks can sometimes have.  It’s light in the mouth and very smooth.  Light body, but it’s not a bright, acidy coffee.  I agree with their assertion that it’s mildly acidic.  Quite a good cup for the first of the day.

If I have a complaint, it’s that Willoughby’s doesn’t use good bags with one-way valves in them to keep the beans fresh while letting out the nasty gases.  They just use the el-cheapo plastic-lined paper bags that fold over.  I’m going to have to store the other two roasts I got in something else now.

By the way, remember when I said I probably wouldn’t be using the Aerobie Aeropress every day?  Yeah.  Well.  That didn’t last long.  I pretty much ONLY use the Aerobie now unless I just don’t feel like grinding and cleaning up after.  I have it down to a science, I know the perfect grind settings for amount and consistency, I have the amount and time of the water down, I know exactly how much coffee to put in the press.  I’m getting consistently great cups of coffee, although each new bean is a bit of trial and error.

I think after Christmas I’m going to get one of the French presses that my friend Doug suggested and try that out, but I am pretty happy with the Aerobie these days.  It’s like playing chemist every morning, only at the end you get to drink your potion and not turn into a hideous monster that has such an interestin’ hair-do.

Posted by JimK at 05:37 PM on December 19, 2006
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