I’m reading this new book called  “God in the Cup?”  No, I’m not going to review the book – you’re safe. But it is an interesting read, even if some of the facts are a little off track and personalities a little exaggerated. My friend Duane can tell you all about the exaggerations.I  purchased my copy while attending the SCAA conference in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago. You can get yours by following this link.  At the time, I didn’t think much of the book or it’s content. It’s kind of an old topic in the industry as we’ve all known the book was in process for several years. So I just picked up my copy and thought I’d read it on the flight home. As I turned the pages I learned Peter, Geoff and Duane had all experienced some of the same feelings, struggles and concerns about buying coffee that I’ve experienced. How to reward producers for their hard work and encourage excellence at the farm level. How do we find the best coffees on earth and what exactly is it that makes those great coffees great? Is it altitude, variety of tree, tender loving care on the part of the farmer, micro-climate or just sheer luck of location by any given farmer?The author, Michaele Weissman,  a journalist who writes about food, family and business and often is published in the New York Times, Washington Post among others, documents the struggles of the three “vanguard” coffee buyers in their pursuit to purchase the worlds best coffees. She focus’s on a coffee many of PTs customers are very familiar with, Hacienda Esmeralda Special from Panama. This is the coffee considered to be one of the worlds best, if not the best. Geoff said the first time he tasted the coffee in a cupping competition, that it was so aromatic that it was as if light was streaming out of it. But it was Don Holly’s comment that made the most news. When he took the first sip he said it was like he  “saw the face of God in the cup.” Well, as you may have imagined by now, Geoff, Peter, Duane and Don all bought this coffee, just as we have at PTs for the last four years. Last year alone we sold nearly 750 lbs of Hacienda Esmeralda Specia.This week I had the opportunity to cup the sample lots for the auction Hacienda Esmeralda will be hosting next week (May 22, 2008).  As I worked my way around the table, I just shook my head in wonder! Such an amazing cup! There are very few coffees that come close to this one on the cupping table. Maybe an outstanding Kenya or Ethiopian and thats about it. In her book, Weissman shares the story of the first year this coffee was discovered. Next week we’ll discover a new chapter in the story of Hacienda Esmeralda as the coffee will be auctioned for the first time. Last year a small sampling of auction lot coffee (300 lbs.) sold for a world record price $130 / lb. Will the coffee command such a price again this year? Pick up a copy of Weissmans book and enjoy the reading. Next week will bring an end to another chapter, it just won’t be in the book.Jeff