Aussies buy up big at record breaking Best of Panama auction

Australian buyers have secured nine of the 39 coffee lots on offer at the Best of Panama (BoP) auction on 19 July.

“The two best Geisha Washed coffees are coming to Australia,” Coffee Treasures CEO Gavin Gam says.

Gavin won a share of the top-ranked Elida Estate Geisha Green Tip Washed from producer Wilford Lamastus for his new green bean sourcing company, and on behalf of roaster D’Angelo Coffee.

Kew Specialty Coffee also won a stake in this top palced BoP coffee, which scored 94.66 points in the international judging and was sold for US$661.00 per pound (about $886.33 per pound).

Coffee Treasures secured four other top BoP coffees, including the record breaking Elida Estate’s Geisha Green Tip Natural, which received the highest bid of a green coffee sold at auction at US$803 per pound (about $1088 per pound).

This winning price shatters the previous record of US$601 per pound set in the 2017 Best of Panama auction for Hacienda La Esmeralda Cañas Verdes’ Geisha Natural.

Campos Coffee shared the highest bid for the second place coffee Cantar Don Tito Washed Geisha at US$109.00 per pound. It also picked up Carmen Geisha and Longboard Misty Mountain Geisha for US$76 per pound and $101 per pound respectively.

Given the small volumes available, Campos Coffee Founder and BoP Head Judge Will Young doesn’t expect to have these coffees on offer for long, which he describes as the “unicorn coffees” of our industry.

From August, Campos will be selling the coffees by the cup, but in small portions to help make them accessible to anyone interested in expanding their horizons.

“Unlike the 100-point wines of the world, these luxury coffees will be available by the cup in our venues for a very reasonable price,” Will says. “The price might be $12 or even $15 per cup, but this pales in comparison to the price of a glass of Premier Cru Bordeaux,” Will says.

Gavin agrees with Will”s sentiments.

“In reality $15 to $20 per person for the best coffee in the world today is really affordable in comparison to the finest of wines which can cost thousands of dollars for half a glass,” he says.

“With coffee this exquisite you only need a small serve as it’s got so much intense flavour, compared to say wagyu and caviar. You only need a few sips to be overwhelmed by the flavour presented to you in these coffees scoring over 93 points.”

Campos’ Will believe it’s only a matter of time before we see a price increase as the market recognises the significance of such quality coffees.

“A 100-point scoring coffee will emerge soon, as has already happened in the wine industry,” Will says. “The top coffees from the Best of Panama are the closest you will see to 100 and we thrive on being able to expand the horizons of our customers and team members by having these pinnacle coffees on offer.

“Coffee is still in its infant stage when it comes to this luxury category and for any member of the public to access one of the top three coffees of the year is remarkable.

“I do not expect this will be the case in five to 10 year’s time when even the price per cup will become prohibitive to much of the public.”

Hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama, BoP is a annual competition for Panamanian coffee growers to expose their quality coffees to the best coffee buyers of the world.

In May 2018, producer Wilford Lamastus did what no other producer has achieved in the 22 years of the BoP, winning both the Washed and Natural Geisha categories in the 2018 competition in Boquete, Chiriqui in Panama.

Wilford says receiving the top auction price caps off an incredible year for his family, who celebrates Elida Estate turning 100 years old, winning both BoP Geisha Categories and the Panama Cup for Producer of the Year.

“We are so happy and still very shocked because this is unbelievable, I would have never imagined reaching such high prices,” says Wilford Lamastus Jr.

For full auction results, click here

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