Panama’s Carmen Estate is found in the region of Volcan, Panama, which is named after the towering Volcan Baru that rises just to the east.
Carmen Estate is owned by the Franceschi family who came to Panama from Corsica, a French Island in the Mediterranean Sea, in the year 1800. Upon their arrival to Panama, the Franceschi family started several business- cattle ranching, farming and ship building.
In the 1950s, Mrs. Carmen Franceschi suggested to her husband Mr. Efrain Franceschi to start a small coffee plantation. That was the beginning of the Franceschi family’s involvement in the coffee industry. The farm was named “Carmen Estate” after Mrs. Carmen Franceschi. Today, the third generation of the family is running the business and Mr. Carlos Ahuilera Franceschi is the Managing Director.
Carmen Estate is situated in the Paso Ancho Valley, which is located in the Chiriqui province, close to the border with Costa Rica in western Panama. Paso Ancho Valley lies on the western slopes of the Baru Volcano. The Baru is an inactive volcano located between the Boquete and Volcan-Candela areas. At 3,500 meters above sea level, the Baru is the highest point in Panama.
The Baru Volcano has provided very rich, deep and fertile soils to the Paso Ancho Valley micro region. This coupled with regular rainfall and appropriate altitude are a key factor in the outstanding quality portrayed by the coffee produced in this micro region.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Panama Chiriqui Carmen Estate, from Sunergos Coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Volcan, Chiriqui, Panama
farm: Carmen Estate
producer: Carlos Aguilera Franceschi
elevation: 1750 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Catuai, Typica
method: Hario V60
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 30 g
water: 490 mL
pour: 2:30 concentric pulse pour
Oh my my. The aroma of this Panama Carmen Estate is out of this world. It’s so sweet and soothing, with mellow, inviting scents of honey, caramel, and chamomile, but it’s also bright, tart, and lively with zesty lemon peel and blackberry.
HOO, BOY. The complexity of the aroma continues into the first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew. Sweet and creamy flavors of honey and toffee combine with the malic juiciness of a red delicious apple to form something of a caramel apple flavor up front, and that sweetness is further compounded by notes of panela and Nilla wafer. What’s most interesting about the profile up front, though, is zesty lemon rind that bites at the tip and sides of the tongue and the nuance of oak barrel.
As the cup cools off, it becomes infinitely more complex as its texture transmogrifies from sweet and creamy to tart and bubbly. That texture, coupled with the intensity of the fruit flavors present at this point in the cup, make for a flavor profile that is wonderfully sparkling and effervescent; cherry, blackberry, banana, raspberry, peach, honey crisp apple, and sugary lemon lime soda splash onto the tongue and finish with a crisp, clean conclusion.
Medium body; effervescent mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
My goodness. What an incredibly unique cupping experience Sunergos Coffee’s Panama Chiriqui Carmen Estate offers. Wow.
Van Halen had it right when David Lee Roth so wisely sang, “Uh! // Oh yeah! // Ah-huh! // Panama, Panama // Wow! // Panama, Panama // Oh-oh-oh-oh // Woo!” He was obviously drinking this coffee while he wrote that hit song—I was expressing very similar sentiments sip after sip.
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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.