April 22, 2016

Panama: discovering a treasure trove of aromas

 With coffees carefully grown at high altitudes (starting at 1,650 – 1,800 meters) and lower temperatures resulting in slower growth, Don Pepe’s coffees are renown for exceptional flavours and aromas.

In February of this year the team at Di Bella Coffee launched the new Crop to Cup Exclusives coffee Panama Geisha, highlighting the rare coffees the Crop to Cup team are able to source from producers like Don Pepe. This specific crop was sourced on a recent trip to Panama by Phillip and the green bean sourcing team, Michael Anapo and Moshe Tawil. The team was joined Joe Molinaro of Di Bella Coffee and Victorian customer George Paras from In a Rush Group and Alex Spyrou who is a patron of one of George’s In a Rush cafes.

Why does Di Bella invite customers to join the trips to producers?
Michael Anapo: ‘For us Crop to Cup is about coffee as a system. Our aim is to convey the vision and goals of the producer to everyone in the chain and ultimately to the coffee consumer. In a hyper competitive coffee market consumers care about the origins of their coffee and the ethical and environmental credentials add to the appeal and satisfaction from their daily cup. In the Crop to Cup system we aim to educate our team, baristas and consumers to make the whole chain stronger.’

What makes this Panama Geisha special?
Michael Anapo: ‘First of all we had exclusive access to the coffee for the Australian market. We secured half of the crop with the other half going to South Korea. In addition the delicacy and aromas of this coffee took us by surprise. It is one of the best aromas I have ever experienced!’

How do you make sure the unique aromas and flavours are there for the consumer to experience?
Raihaan Esat is responsible for quality control at Di Bella Coffee’s roasting warehouse and works directly with the coffee buying team and the roasters. ‘With this coffee we took a very different approach. Because we knew we had something special at hand we enhanced the characteristics of this coffee with a lighter roast and educated customers through our team on how to achieve the best brewing result.

After many hours of experimenting with a number of waters, looking at hardness and turbidity, we found the optimum clarity and body with Voss Norwegian spring water for its low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) and calcium/magnesium bicarbonate ratio. We were aiming for perfection and came pretty close.’

Why do think there is a market for these super exclusive coffees?
George Paras: ‘It’s the rarity, scarcity and even a little bit of hype. Our customers want to be part of something special at our cafes, experiment with different brewing techniques and have something to share with friends. I am always looking for new and special products and activities to keep our stores an attractive destination. The fact I was able to bring a customer along on the trip was amazing.’

What coffee will be next?
Phillip Di Bella:Together with our raw coffee buyer I am currently selecting new coffees. It will be very different from the Panama Geisha but we will have a great story to tell and another amazing coffee to share. The only thing I will reveal is that it will be from a different continent this time.’


Story by Marcel Mascunan, Di Bella Coffee

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