i'll state the obvious: panama is a special case because of the extreme difference between the Gesha coffees and the "traditional" coffees (meaning the ones that cup with true Panama origin character). this is going to lend itself to a price gap.
if you feel the prices of the other lots are so low, why aren't you bidding on them? we all want sensible prices for coffee. I am not sure how many reading this were buying green during the coffee crisis, but that cemented in our minds that this meant paying a sensible price so the farm could produce the quality of coffee our businesses demanded. I always felt that applied to the other end of the spectrum too; isn't it an affront to coffee farmers who get 1.50 for their nice product to see jbm sell for 22 when it is mild to mediocre, at best. with the coffee auctions, this "lack of sense" finds a new form of expression.
but then again, we all have different businesses, and what is "sensible" for one is not for another. 11.80 is perfect for me, and it also makes sense for my palate. i mean, by my book i think i bought the best coffee in the auction. but if others differ, and want to spent 130, then that must be sensible to them.
if they also think gesha coffee deserves that sort of premium, fine. again, i would disagree because i cupped the pre-ship of esmeralda especial vs. the auction lot and preferred the former to the later. last year i liked the auction lot gesha a bit better and we offered the #1, #2 and #3 coffees as a set.
anwyay, i think we all have to consider the value of "gesha" or any other exotic cultivars. we are going to see a lot of this. I am buying a gesha from costa rica and from guatemala. it's being planted many palces, nicaragua in particular, and petersons are selling the seed. so what's gesha worth? well, for me its only worth what it expresses in the cup. and that's true with all cultivar. i mean, i like bourbon coffees, but not if they suck! are we going to have people offering true gesha coffees that suck, at inflated prices? believe me, i have cupped a few that are truly miserable coffees.
the more fundimental question about auctions and the prices paid for top coffees is (imho) not just about the median price for all the lots. the issue is whether they help out all the farmers in the country or not. i really wonder. in some coutries the participants are simply the elite estate farms, in others it seems to be a much more democratic route to getting coffee into the auctions. as far as i know, nobody is really studying the impact from one origin to the next in terms of the overall auction-effect. i did notice today that a report has been written about the Nicaragua CoE effect over the past 5 years, and i will check that out to see if it has any relevant info.
anyway, instead of gawking about prices, i wish we could turn toward a discussion of issues, and maybe of the former leads to the later, its a good thing. I mean, kopi luwak has kinda forced people to take issue with the idea of scarcity, price and cup quality, right?