On September 9th, PT’s Coffee at College Hill hosted the Endless Summer Throwdown and Signature Drink Challenge in Topeka, KS. Competitors, friends, and family came from all around the Central Midwest coffee community. Cafés represented include: PT’s at College Hill – Topeka, KS Onyx Coffee Lab – Bentonville, AR The Coffee Ethic – Springfield, MO… 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.
Set it and forget it. Subscribe to your favorite coffees once and we will deliver them to you automatically every 1-4 weeks. Never run out of your favorite coffees again. Simply select the coffee you want to receive in the store, click Subscribe, and choose how often you want it shipped to you. We will process… Continue Reading
Welcome to the new ptscoffee.com! We’ve been hard at work updating our website to make your experience at ptscoffee.com the best it can be. Coffee and merchandise pages are now easier to read, our homepage is less cluttered, and our mobile site is completely new. Our website is now supported by Shopify. In order… Continue Reading
This is an updated post that was originally posted July 19th, 2013. This year’s offerings are Marcelino Katari Organic and Bolinda Organic Peaberry. I was working a bar shift at our cafe, PT’s at College Hill, when Jeff and Maritza told me that I would be taking my first farm trip. It was exciting, and I only had… Continue Reading
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
Whoa. 23 years ago today, PT’s Coffee opened our first cafe in Topeka, Kansas and we’ve been growing and innovating ever since. Happy birthday to us! From all of us on the PT’s Coffee Team, thanks for your support.
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
Each year we have the pleasure of bringing some of the highest caliber specialty coffees through our roasting facility. We believe in the connection between the quality of any one coffee and the producers and farmers who work long hours to actualize it. Just like your favorite type of produce, quality is tied to seasonality… Continue Reading
Our 2015 trip to El Salvador was bound to be unique, different and better in many ways than any of the other 20+ trips I’ve made through Central America. On this particular trip there would be tears shed and piercing screams. Men would be on their knees making indistinguishable sounds. Women would stop in their… Continue Reading