PANAMA continues to produce some of the world’s best - and most expensive coffee - with Asian buyers bidding a record breaking $601 a pound for geisha coffee at the recent Best of Panama coffee auction.
That translates into a $50 a cup at the retail end.
The sale of the winning 100-pound lot from Hacienda La Esmeralda in Boquete shattered previous price records.
At the auction presented by the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama, experts from around the world bought 51 lots comprising 5,950 pounds of green coffee sold for $368,711, at a remarkable average price of $61.98 per pound.
The auction reinforces the belief that not only has quality improved among progressive farmers, but that there is a healthy and growing market at the very high end of the specialty coffee spectrum.
The vast majority of buyers hail from Asia. Panama’s Specialty Coffee Association of Panama reported that 37 of the winning lots went to buyers in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea, while Australian buyers bought seven of the lots, with the remaining lots going to buyers in the United States (1), Holland (1), France (1), the UK (2) and Saudi Arabia (2).
The auction concluded with single lots being purchased by the U.S., Holland and France, two lots each to UK and Saudi Arabia and seven lots going to Australia. The remaining 37 lots went to Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and S. Korea. The lone U.S. buyer was Boulder, Colo.’s Dragonfly Coffee Roasters, although it should be noted that numerous parties in the U.S. and Europe have holdings in farms represented in the competition.
The top-scoring Hacienda La Esmeralda lot is a natural-process Geisha coffee grown on the producer organization’s Cañas Verdes Farm that was purchased by Korea’s Kew Specialty Coffee Co. Since its emergence in Panama in the last decade at the hands of several progressive producers — La Esmeralda among them — the Geisha variety has played a crucial role in elevating the extreme high-end market in Panama.
The vast majority of Best of Panama-winning coffees were of the Geisha variety, most of them natural-processed with a handful of Caturras, Catuais and Pacamaras also represented.