Campos Coffee Founder Will Young to Head Judge Best of Panama

Campos Coffee Founder Will Young will Head Judge this year’s Best of Panama competition.

Ric Rhineheart, Head of the Specialty Coffee Association, has been the Head Judge of Best of Panama for all but a couple of the events since its inception in 1996, but unfortunately could not attend this year.

The event is taking place 22 to 26 May at Boquete, Chiriqui in Panama.

“To be asked to take his place was an immense honour. It is a true privilege to lead a very seasoned and qualified jury through tables of coffees scoring in the 90s,” Will says.

Best of Panama is best known for discovering the Panama Gesha in 2004, when Hacienda La Esmeralda burst onto the scene with this varietal that would become the most valuable and sought after in the world.

As such, the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama created two separate judging categories for the varietal: washed, and natural and honey processed Gesha.

Campos Coffee has been committed to the Best of Panama for the past seven years, judging in all the competitions. Campos has also been a significant buyer of winning coffees from the Best of Panama Auction. These lots lead their ultra-premium range which, though pricey (200 grams for $30 to $60), allows our market to sample much of the highest-ranked auction coffees available.

“Being able to provide coffees that are quantifiably the finest in the world is important to us here at Campos Coffee,” Will says. “I find it helps expand the horizons of both our customers and our crew.”

It’s not just the coffee but the community behind the production that make Panama producers the market leaders in the ultra-premium Gesha category.

“The producers of Panama have something very special going on. Though they only produce a small fraction of the world’s total production, the impact they make on the specialty coffee world is enormous,” Will says.

“What I find most amazing is how the intensely competitive nature of each producer is juxtaposed with the collegial family spirit they have fostered over the years. This leads to quality boundaries being redefined annually through thoughtful innovation at a farm level, but once the competition is over, the producers then share their knowledge for the greater good.”

Campos Coffee is a supporter of coffee competitions in every producing country. Will is also Chairman of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, the group that runs the Cup of Excellence competition around the world.

The Best of Panama auction will take place on 19 July.

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