Lerida Estate is a coffee plantation with unrivalled pedigree in a country abound with quality producers. It traces its origins back to the era of canal construction, when the Norwegian engineer Tollef Monniche and his wife set up the farm on the slopes of Volcan Baru, just outside the picturesque town of Boquete in the province of Chiriqui.
The location is ideal for quality production, with volcanic soil, ample rainfall, altitude, divergence of flora etc, and Mr. Monniche harnessed these natural resources through his engineering nous. He invented what was at the time a unique wet-milling device, his ‘sifon’, for the separation of good, ripe cherries from undesirable under or over-ripe ones, and this set Finca Lerida off on the trajectory it follows to this day.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Panama Lerida Estate, from PTs Coffee Roasting Company in Topeka, Kansas courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Boquete, Panama
farm: Lerida Estate
producer: Sonia Amoruso de Lezcano
elevation: 1600 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Catuai
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of the Panama Lerida Estate is sweet and fragrant, but complex, with distinct scents of vanilla and caramel, flowers, and dried fruits, but there are also wisps of roasted nuts and earth.
Taking my first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew, smooth and creamy butterscotch and salty caramel coat the palate. I’m also getting soft and silky floral notes that tickle the tip and sides of the tongue—lilac and violet. There’s even a bit of earth, spicy cedar, and lemongrass in the finish of each sip.
As it cools off, the coffee is starting to taste a little ripe—a little fermented—as I’m starting to taste flavors of old, sour wine and a long-lasting, lingering aftertaste of peanut shells and that lemongrass up front. A theme of trail mix pervades the second half of the cup, with notes of plum, dried fruit (apple, apricot, raisin), candied chocolate, and plenty of roasted cashew.
Medium body; silky mouthfeel; stone fruit acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
It’s been a long while since I last tried a Panamanian coffee; a lot of Panamas can be really tricky to get just right but, when you do get them, they are very rewarding.
I had some trouble dialing in this one, and I still don’t think I got it just right. I was hoping the coffee would be sweet and bright, but the Panama Lerida Estate, from PTs Coffee, was, instead, complex and little too “organic” for my tastes (by that I mean it tasted a little “outdoorsy”—wood, earth, vegetation…).
While the coffee tasted pretty good while it sat on the tongue, it was the lingering aftertaste that ruined it for me.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.