Carmen Estate is a farm located high on the hillside above the large, well known Finca La Florentina. In fact, La Florentina used to buy the coffee cherry from all the surrounding farms to augment their own, but this was done for more than increasing the volume. The fact is, La Florentina is down in the flat valley and Carmen Estate roughly another 500-600 meters higher up. Carmen is on a very steep hillside with southern exposure, and due to the high altitude, the coffee has greater density, better acidity, a more piquant cup. So in a way, Florentina was getting some better cup quality with Carmen in the mix. But the farm was passed down to the new generation of the Franceschi family, namely Carlos Franceschi Aguilar (Carmen was his grandmother) ... and he realized that they had a better coffee on their family farm then something to blend with lower-grown coffees. He built an independent mill for the Estate down in the valley using the latest equipment, and began a program to care for the trees using new techniques. This farm uses the de-muscilage process where the mucilage is stripped off the parchment layer using friction, rather than traditional fermentation. I was very impressed with the high altitude and excellent practices of Carlos and Finca Carmen. This coffee won the #3 spot in the Best of Panama competition in 2003, 2004 and #2 in 2005 #3 in 2006, and 4th in '07 - a proven winning coffee. The entire farm is very high altitude; it starts at 1450, an altitude many farms don't even reach, meters and goes up from there! We have a special arrangement to buy this coffee each year from the 1800+ meter altitude on the farm, a very small amount of coffee. Altitude matters, with coffee, and you can taste the difference here. Altitude allows coffee to ripen slower, creates greater bean density, and results in higher concentrations of bright, snappy, acidity in the cup. I also notice stronger aromatic attributes compared to the lower altitude coffee from the same Estate. The cup has sweetly fruited and citrus aromas at City roast, with clean fruited aromatic components; peach, apple and lemon floral components. The wet aroma is crystal clear and bright, with grain and nut hints at this light roast stage. These become more distinct in the cup flavors: lightly malted barley, a sweet nuttiness, and a buttery mouthfeel. The finish is piquant, clean, and leaves a sharp, distinct aftertaste. This is a crisp and nutty cup at City to City+, the roasts where the "origin flavors" are most distinct. If that is too snappy, too acidic for you, you can get great sharp pungency with a "toned down" acidity from an FC+ roast, where nutty roast tones turn to soft chocolate. I have cupped our special lot against "regular" Carmen estate coffees, and other micro-region Paso Ancho coffees from the same mill, and feel this definitely has a more dynamic, lively and clean cup than the others. That's good, because we pay a lot more for the 1800+ meter coffee!