Joel Bigelow and Leah Shinkle have spent the last several months training to compete in the Western Qualifier for the 2016 US Barista Championships. After a wonderful week of competition in Kansas City, they have both moved on to the Nationals! We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both for jobs well done. Both Leah… Continue Reading
Happy National and International Coffee Day!
As you gaze into your mug of dark and lovely wake-the-heck-up this morning, slowly shifting through the haze of sleepiness into the land of the awake and productive, take a moment with me to contemplate the incredible amount of work it took to get from rich soil in a country thousands of miles away to the ceramic vessel you have before you. This is the story of Mama Cata.
Mama Cata Estate, located in Boquete, Panama is owned by Jose David Garrido Perez and is part of a larger group of family farms extending back generations. What is unique about the Mama Cata estate is two-fold: how it got it’s name and how it became hugely influential in the rise of specialty coffee in Panama. Before Jose David’s ownership, a man named Mr. Fisher owned the farm. When Mr. Fisher lost his wife, he married his sweet Jamaican maid, Catalina. Catalina Fisher was known for her kindness, cooking food for the workers, and for daily shoot-outs with the neighbors. The workers old enough to remember called these the “Tea Time Shootings.” Thus, from the love Mr. Fisher had for his gun-toting wife, Mama Cata Estate was born.
Back in the days of the “Tea Time Shootings,” Mr. Fisher brought Geisha seeds to the farm and began growing them in small lots. However, his main focus was on the more traditional Typica varietal. The Typica lot performed highly in the Best of Panama competition, winning the category three times. In the early 2000’s, the specialty coffee industry re-discovered Geisha coffee and it is now known as one of the best and highest priced coffees in the world. The Garrido family saw their chance to enter their Geisha into the Best of Panama, but lacked the large amount required for entry into the competition. In 2005, they created a blend, combining beans from their small Geisha lot with their more sizeable Typica lot. Adding the Typica varietal to the Geisha balances out the Geisha, giving it more body, making it a touch less delicate, and (good news, coffee lover) making it easier on the pocketbook. This blend finished second only to the legendary Esmeralda Estate’s Geisha coffee.
In the spring of this year, our fearless leader Jeff Taylor was in Panama judging the Best of Panama competition. When he cupped a coffee from the Mama Cata Estate, it was love at first sip. He ended up scoring it at over 90 points, the second highest score in the Geisha category. Today, PT’s coffee is proud to be Direct Trade partners with Jose David and Mama Cata Estate.
But our story doesn’t stop there. Each coffee cherry is hand picked at optimal ripeness by strong and dedicated workers. After that, each cherry is depulped and the remaining mucilage washed away in a washing station to reveal the glorious coffee bean itself, which is then laid out to dry. After drying, the remaining parchment is removed and the beans are bagged in their familiar burlap to begin the over 3000 mile journey to us.
With the delicate Mama Cata Toña, only a light roast will do to bring out the right flavors. After careful roasting, the coffee is packaged with care and ready for delivery. How many people make up this well-oiled production machine? 25? 50? The correct answer is six. Mike, John, Lara, Corbin, Dennis, and Andrew work together to transform these well-traveled beans into bags of future deliciousness.
There are two other vital steps in the journey from the fertile soil of Panama to your mouth. Cupping, the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of a coffee, is an essential step in the process of getting your coffee to you. Cupping is first and foremost quality control, a way of checking for defects in a crop, making sure we are utilizing the correct roast, and ensuring consistency across the board. Another function is determining a flavor profile. Maritza, our Q-certified quality control guru, along with our roasting staff, prepares the coffee to be cupped. Using her expertise to guide them, they determine not only if the roast is perfect, but also the flavor notes each coffee features.
The final step is the one we leave to you, dear reader, unless you prefer to leave it to one of our adept and personable baristas (and we fully endorse this approach for those of you in the Topeka/Kansas City area): brewing. For the most part, the best brewing technique is somewhat subjective. A chemex might give you intense flavor, but a Kalita Wave will provide you with both flavor and body. Here at PT’s, we love the Kalita Wave and the clean, balanced cup it provides. Leah, our trainer and educator in the realm of all things coffee, recommends the Kalita Wave for pour over.
Breathe in the aroma from your morning cup deeply. Sip slowly. Or gulp. I’m not here to tell you how to drink your coffee. My point is to just enjoy and revel in the fact that you, coffee drinker of superb taste and discerning palate, are the reason each step was taken in this journey of many years and thousands of miles. Your warm mug of Mama Cata Toña coffee is the very last chapter of many, and as such, you play what is quite possibly the most important role of all. You are a dream’s manifestation.
National Coffee Day (US) is September 29th. International Coffee Day is October 1st.
This year we entered the Compak Golden Bean Roasters competition with a great line up of coffees. This event has been running successfully for nearly a decade in Australia and has been one of the key elements in the growth of the Australian coffee industry by way of rewarding the coffee roasters, the vital person in… Continue Reading
This story begins with one very tiny KIA Sportage, five coffee professionals, a cooler full of cold brewed Pacamara Natural, and a trunk packed with specialty coffee from our Colombian Direct Trade partners. Last weekend members of the PT’s crew hit the road heading east with one goal in mind – to share our love… Continue Reading
For the second year in a row, PT’s at College Hill has been named one of America’s Best Coffee Shops by The Daily Meal. While there are many “Best Of” lists to be had, we are especially proud to place highly here. Curated by some of the best and brightest in our industry, they have… Continue Reading
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. is 21 years old this year and along the road there have been many changes. With an eye towards the future and an appreciation for the past, we are making changes to our lineup of Signature Blends. While continuing to strengthen old and make new Direct Trade partnerships, we have been redeveloping… Continue Reading
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. will be closed Wednesday, January 1st in observance of the holiday but we will return on Thursday, ready to take on 2014! In celebration of the New Year, we are offering FREE SHIPPING to all retail customers* who order from our website during the month of January! No promo code required.… Continue Reading
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. has teamed up with Espro and Williams-Sonoma for an exclusive Artisan Coffee Tasting! This Saturday, November 9th, from noon to 4pm, our baristas will be available in-store, brewing our coffee with the Espro Press at select Williams-Sonoma locations for this special event. We will be featuring our Kenya Ndaroini and El… Continue Reading
Thrillist has named us one of the Top 11 Roasters in the Nation. We are so pleased and honored to be included alongside such great company, especially when the list is curated by such respected individuals within our industry: Bill Walsh (Pure Coffee Blog), Jordan Michelman (Sprudge.com), Brian Jones (Dear Coffee I Love You), Kelly… Continue Reading
The leaves are quickening, the breeze has turned cold, and the days are getting shorter. For us here at PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., that means it’s time to gear up for the holidays. Some of our most anticipated Direct Trade lots will soon be on their way, including coffees from Finca Kilimanjaro, Finca Las Mercedes,… Continue Reading