Beans: Finca Deborah, Geisha, Carbonic Maceration, Volcan, Panama.
Shop: Competition coffee from Niels Te Vaanhold.
Finca Deborah – Geisha: Background information.
Welcome to Finca Deborah; one of the most remote and highest placed coffee farms in Panama. Located in Volcan, this farm is a shade grown plantation that blends into the environment in so many different ways. Finca Deborah doesn’t have any power coming from the outside world, so in order to operate, the farm uses it’s own solar powered station. This not only reduces CO2 emissions but also makes sure that the environment isn’t disturbed by electricity lines and what not.
And that is exactly what Finca Deborah is aiming for; a coffee farm that blends into the environment without disturbing the flora and wildlife inhabiting this wonderful country.
The owners of Finca Deborah also know that a plantation is only as good as it’s employee’s, in this case these employee’s are the Nôbe-Buglé people. They are the primary workforce on the farm and are the backbone of Finca Deborah. That’s why they strive to care for their employee’s by providing them all the things they need to live a happy life. For example; in addition to their regular pay and social security schedule, they also provide excellent living quarters, medical care, regular monetary bonuses, clothing for the workers and their families, fruit and vegetable seeds for their personal gardens, and flocks of chickens to supplement their diets with meat and eggs.
The farm is located in the middle of the rainforest at 1900m altitude. The climate ensures for about 2000mm of rainfall, a humidity of 74% year round and a drop in temperature at night which go’s down to 10 degrees. The lower temperature slows down the metabolism of the coffee trees and permit them to put more sugar in the cherries. The temperature and location also provide excellent protection against fungal and other diseases.
This coffee came to by Niels Te Vaanhold, the 2019 runner-up of the world cup tasters cup. Niels was supposed to be using this coffee as a competition coffee but due to COVID19, the competition was cancelled. Niels send me 100 grams of this magnificent coffee to try out and I just had to write a small review about it.
Finca Deborah – Geisha: Opening the package.
Since this coffee didn’t come from an official roasting company, the package was a blanc package without information. Thankfully a small card told me what I wanted to know such as the name of the farm, country, variety, proces and some tasting notes.
Opening the package reveals a milky chocolate and marshmallow aroma. After a second or two, there is a sweet berry scent coming up as well. The coffee had an equally roasted look to it and when eating one, the beans feels crispy. The flavour erupting from this small coffee bean is amazing! There is an intense strawberry and raspberry syrup flavour it. The aftertaste adds a little minty aspect to it as well. The bean doesn’t turn bitter or sour at all. I can’t wait to review this gem.
Finca Deborah – Geisha: The tasting.
I only had 100 grams of this coffee, but it was clearly enough to review. After only one cup, I already had so much information on the aroma’s and flavours. The only problem I had while reviewing this coffee, was that I kept on discovering new aroma’s and flavours.
The journey starts when grinding this Geisha and smelling the aroma’s coming off of the grounds. Peach, floral notes, mint and nectarine are the aroma’s that pop up as you inhale slowly and deeply.
When brewing on the V60, I got aroma’s of vanilla and roses when it’s hot. There was also a hint of Thyme on the nose, but it was gone quite fast. The aroma’s later changed into a note that can best be described as the plum note you get in a deep Shiraz wine together with blackberries, strawberry and a hint of marshmallow sweetness. Especially when smelling form afar, did the berry sweetness go up.
After eating and smelling the coffee, the journey is halfway done. Don’t let that discourage you, the rest of the journey is just as exciting.
When the coffee is hot, the flavours that will pop up are a mix of peach and blackberry. Just slurp some oxygen inside and swirl the coffee round in your mouth. The coffee develops even more and will add a floral note to the palette: bergamot can be found as well as jasmine and white blossom. These flavours aren’t dominant in the cup but kind of carry the fruity notes. As the coffee cools down, there is yet another step in this flavour packed gem: cherry pit and tangerine. These flavours add a little counterweight to the coffee’s floral and stone fruit side and makes it even more complete than it already was.
The acidity of this coffee is high. Citric would be the best way to describe it, but it’s a little firmer than the orange or lemon acidity that you’ll normally find in coffees. when the coffee cools down, the acidity turns towards Kiwi. The mouthfeel is like that of a Shiraz wine when it’s hot but will turn into a tea-like warm coke when it cools down. At one point during the tasting I got a white pepper hotness in the back of my mouth but it was only noticeable with a brew on the V60. The Aeropress and Siphon both gave off balanced and soft brews that didn’t have the pepper aspect.
The aftertaste is a mix of all the flavours above and is accompanied with the acidity that leaves a great impression. If you breathe back through your nose via your closed mouth, you’ll get a black pepper corn flavour. The lower side of your cheeks will have a tiny bit of tanines but it will remain there as a reminder of the awesome coffee you just drank.
Finca deborah – Geisha: The verdict.
Most of the times, coffee’s like these are the easiest to review. This Finca Deborah, however, was an endless journey of flavours and aroma’s. After the first cup I thought I had them all, but after brewing with the Aeropess, Siphon and Gabi it turned out I was missing out on a lot more.
This is a once in a lifetime coffee that is carried by a splendid acidity and awesome flavours and aroma’s. It is a sad thing to know that this coffee isn’t for sale and that after this package I wont have any left. I hope this review took you along on my journey that is called Finca Deborah.
Thank you Niels for sending me this coffee!
As a courtesy to Niels Te Vaanhold, I placed a link to his own roasting company: Fazenda by Mocca D’or.