Location: Paso Ancho, Volcán, Chiriquí, Panama
GPS: 8.833084, -82.604972
Varietals: Caturra, Bourbon, Typica, Catuaí
Tiny Bambito Estate takes the idea of boutique coffee to the next level, carrying a reputation for quality far outsized for such a small farm. On just a few hectares of sloping land, situated beautifully over a river, Don Fito Amar, a local community leader, has planted a few thousand coffee trees. All the fruit is processed right on site, at a little facility next to Don Fito’s house. Everything is done with great care and attention to detail.
Water from his property is bottled and sold locally as a natural spring product, so pure and well-maintained is the site.
When clearing an area for planting coffee, Don Fito’s workers came across a pre-Colombian ritual grave site, on a hillside that faces out over the river. They carefully left everything intact and left some distance before planting any more coffee. That’s just indicative of the respect and care with which Bambito Estate is run; and this care and precision comes through in the high quality of the coffee.
Location: Volcán Valley, Volcán, Chiriquí, Panama
Varietals: Typica, Caturra
One of the best-known coffee farms in one of the best-known coffee regions of the world, Carmen Estates has become known to roasters big and small, worldwide, for their quality, consistency, and classic Central American flavor profiles.
Carlos Aguilera runs a medium-sized processing facility, where he expertly finishes off all the coffee that grows on his lands on the surrounding hillside. As local experts, they also do the processing for a number of their neighbors, and their extensive experience results in a product that is clean, sweet, and reliably delicious.
Location: Santa Clara, Candela, Chiriquí, Panama
GPS: 8.845538, -82.759888
Altitude: 1200 – 1700 masl
Varietals: Geisha, Caturra, Catuaí, Maragogype, Geisha Nativo, Typica, Bourbon
More than a century ago, the ancestor of the Hartmann family came from Central Europe, without a penny in his pocket, and hacked out a home for himself in the jungled slopes of Western Panama. Today, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren live and work on one of the most forward-looking coffee farms in the world.
More than twenty years ago, the current generation of Hartmanns put in the first specialty cupping lab in the entire region, right in the middle of their farm. Since that time, the little lab, surrounded by hummingbird feeders and children, has become the focal point for the skyrocketing specialty coffee industry in Panama.
The Hartmanns live and work together, tending their own farm, processing their own coffee, roasting and cupping it, and arranging specialty lots for the most discriminating connoisseurs in the world. And they have preserved the same wild jungle that brought their ancestors here in the furthest place; more than 90% of their upper plantation is reserved for wild forest, and the rest is home to a hidden plantation of beautiful geisha trees.
“Whatever our buyers tell us they want, we endeavor to create. We don’t produce our coffees. We build them.”
Location: Jurutungo, Candela, Chiriquí, Panama
GPS: 8.893568, -82.742959
Altitude: 1600 – 2000 masl
This is the undiscovered gem of Western Panama, about to make a huge splash on the international super-specialty coffee scene. Everything about this farm and this producer is unique, beautiful, and geared towards quality. Because Jose is a new entrant onto the coffee scene, his special Geisha has yet to be discovered… except by a tiny handful of people in and around Candela.
Situated high up on the mountainside, nestled between a protected virgin forest and the border with Costa Rica, José’s farm was just a family affair until this year… that is, only his family was even drinking the coffee! But with some improvements (bordering on the obsessional) that he has made to the processing and picking, he’s now ready to export.
The farm is 100% Geisha, and it is manifesting itself morphologically in a very special way that is only seen (to the best of our research) in one other place in the world. Something about the soil, microclimate, and genetics that are combined here is resulting in absolutely astounding coffee.
Jose and his wife Ailenne are in the process of introducing their coffee — their labor of love — to the rest of the world, and OCN is thrilled to be the ones they have chosen to work with. The quantities involved are almost impossibly small… this is truly the definition of high-end coffee: extremely rare, totally unique, and of the utmost quality, approaching near perfection in the cup. The Holy Grail of coffee production.
Location: Santa Clara, Candela, Chiriquí, Panama
GPS: 8.837343, -82.789926
Altitude: 1200 – 1400 masl
Varietals: Caturra, Catuaí
Just down the road from his cousins at Finca Hartmann, William Hartmann has revived a once derelict piece of land and turned it into a well-tended work of art. Where once the local producers had to sell their coffees to big middle-men at a cut-rate for processing, William and his wife have painstakingly built their own washing and drying facilities, allowing them to process their own coffee right there next to the farm.
2015 is the very first year that William Hartmann’s coffees have been made available to the international specialty market. Both OCN and William were very excited to bring the coffee to market together; if the quality he has shown already this year is any indication, he will be very widely known in the future. We’re proud to be the very first ones to offer it.
Meet the producers.