Two New Starbucks Reserve Coffees: Sumatra Wahana Estate and Panama Carmen Estate

IMAG5498 New Reserve coffees Panama and Sumatra 17June2013Two new Starbucks Reserve coffees were introduced into the Reserve-Clover locations, this past Tuesday the 18th.  I went to a coffee seminar to explore these new coffees and thought I’d share a little bit about them.

The first new Reserve Coffee is Sumatra Wahana Estate.  It’s actually a wash processed coffee, which is very rarely found from Sumatra growing region, and hasn’t been offered by Starbucks before.  I like the description from

“But the Wahana Estate is doing things a little differently. By using a fully washed processing method, they’ve coaxed amazing flavors we’ve never tasted in a Sumatran coffee. In the cup, it’s a little brighter than we expected, lighter-bodied too. The taste has the green herbal overtones of tarragon or bell pepper. Delicious!

The Wahana Estate is located on the northern end of Sumatra, high in the mountains by Lake Toba – the world’s largest volcanic crater. The combination of soil, altitude and climate are perfect for great coffee.”

For this coffee tasting at the East Olive Way Starbucks, Coffee-Master-In-Training Jesica (she’s in her “last ten feet”!) compared the Sumatra Wahana Estate side by side with the Starbucks core Sumatra coffee.  Tge core Sumatra had more of a spice cupboard aroma, and lingered a lot more in the mouth than this new Reserve.  The Wahana Estate is described as having bell pepper flavor notes – and that it is an excellent description.  It has a cleaner finish, hit on the front of my tongue, and but still had a full-bodied mouth feel.  One person in the group described it as a little “brothy,” which is not a bad description – it’s full of flavor, but a little lighter in the mouth than the core Sumatra.  One person in this coffee event tasted some cinnamon notes to the new Starbucks Sumatra Wahana Estate.

The second new Reserve coffee is the Panama Carmen Estate offering.

We tried this coffee both iced and hot.    This is an amazingly complex coffee for a single-origin Latin American coffee.  To me, it seemed to share flavor characteristics often more commonly associated with African coffees.  As a hot coffee, one individual described it as sweet, like with a maple syrup flavor.  It definitely has some black tea and orange flavors.  Citrus is a predominate flavor note.  Unlike many Latin American coffees, it has almost no cocoa flavors.  By the way, I think this coffee would be fascinating to pair next to a traditional Orange Pekoe Black Tea.

This Panama is amazing iced.  It’s refreshing, and has those beautiful orange and citrus notes.  It’s very smooth and low intensity.  You will love it iced.

The next East Olive Way coffee seminar will be on July 1, 2013, and will feature the new Kati Kati coffee.  I hope you will be there!

If you enjoy reading about coffee seminars, scroll through the articles here.

Thank you Jesica for a wonderful event!

Have you tried these two new Reserve coffees, and if so which one did you like best?

IMAG5537 New Starbucks Reserve Coffees Sumatra and Panama and their whole bean 17Jun2013IMAG5501 Panama coffee info cards - Starbucks 17June2013IMAG5529 Iced Panama 17 June 2013IMAG5510 Jesica pours Sumatra coffee 17Jun2013IMAG5511 Jesica leading coffee seminar 17June2013

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  • Chgo.

    I had them both! I liked them both! I think the Sumatra has a bit more body and flavor compared to the Panama. I wished I could have gotten a little more acidity out of the Panama. I couldn’t taste any citrus in the Panama no matter how hard I tried. I found the Panama to be light, and believe it would make for a good iced coffee. The only thing negative I will say about the Panama, is that if taste determined the price, Panama is a little overpriced for what you’re getting IMHO.

  • jocelyn

    thank you for posting this, melody! i wanted to make it to the seminar on monday, but i just had too much stuff to do! now that i am in the area, i can’t wait to be a regular at olive way :)

  • Melody

    @Jocelyn – You are welcome! I hope to see you on July 1st at Olive Way. I am still not positive I will be there, but will try to make it.
    @Chicago – I would have guessed the Panama would be too light for you!

  • Chgo.

    @Melody – I still liked it… It’s classified as being highly acidic w/ medium body, but somehow I found it to be a little flat. I will try it again hot. I was looking for the citrus flavor, which I couldn’t detect, but perhaps a light walnut and pecan flavor was present. I definitely believe the Panama Carmen Estate has some good iced coffee potential. What day does the Kati Kati debut?

  • Organic Fair Trade Dave

    @Chgo – I appreciate your comments about the Panama Carmen Estate because you were able to articulate why the coffee didn’t deliver for you without going negative as so many people do on the web. Thanks for commenting responsibly.

    And to answer your question, Kati Kati Blend arrives in stores on 6/25. It will be offered as the “dark roast” coffee of the day beginning 6/25 even though it is a medium roast coffee.

  • Tophism


    Both of these coffees are so wonderful in different ways. When my wife and I visited Seattle a few weeks back we had the opportunity to visit with the partners at Olive Way and taste both of these coffees. We paired the Sumatra with green bell peppers, and the Panama with pecan/walnut bread. We had also tried it with the new lemon cake, but it is very important that we note the citrus in this coffee is definitely orange-ish and not lemon. It is amazing how one can work and the other not so much :) The peppers made for a new fresh take on a good pairing, and we all discussed possibly trying a red pepper or even something with a little heat to see what else we could coax from the beans. Thanks for sharing!

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