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PANAMA

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HARVEST 2021, BY

SEBASTIEN LAFAYE

Panama is the smallest coffee-producing country in Central America. In 2020, it produced 115,000 sixty-kilogram bags on an area covering some 19,440 hectares, concentrated mainly in the province of Chiriqui.

 

In Chiriqui province, coffee is produced at Boquete, Tierras Altas and Renacimiento. Our coffees come mainly from Tierras Altas and Renacimiento (Santa Clara), near the Baru Volcano. It’s an ideal terroir for coffee because of its rich soils, high altitudes and cool temperatures, which extend the production period and increase the plants’ sugar production.

 

Panama is known worldwide for its excellent Geisha varieties, which produce outstanding cup profiles due to optimal conditions (climate, soil and altitude). The Geisha coffees, first planted in the 1960s, have positioned Panama as a benchmark and break price records every year at the Best of Panama auction.

 

The tropical storm Eta hit the Santa Clara area, where Belco sources its coffees, heavily in November 2020. Our partners experienced some scary moments because of landslides, including one just behind the beneficio of our partner Baru Black Mountain, another at the entrance of Ezequiel Batista’s plantation and a particularly impressive one that hit the Don Challo farm. As a result, production has fallen sharply this year and diseases, including rust, have affected many of the region’s plantations.

 

It is interesting to note that the Panama border on the Costa Rican side still doesn’t have access to the public electricity network; the difference with its Costa Rican neighbour is obvious and the border is particularly visible after nightfall.

 

In March 2021, we had the privilege to journey to see our friends from Baru Black Mountain to visit the different Las Gallardo, Don Challo and Don Cheo plantations and taste their newly harvested coffees. This tasting allowed us to not only confirm our purchases for the 2020/21 campaign but also discover new coffees, including that of the plantation which won 3rd place in the annual international Best of Panama competition with a sublime fully-washed Geisha. We have already purchased this fully-washed Geisha, which will figure among the prestigious coffees chosen for 2021.

 

This year, we will be offering coffees representing different processes, plantations and varieties, to bring you a complementary range of flavours.

 

Given the high quality of the coffees presented, our confidence in Baru Black Mountain and current demand for this small origin, Belco has decided to increase its orders and step up its support for its local producers. 

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JALAPA - VOLCAN BARU

Baru Black Mountain

Finca Los cenizos

Las Gallardo, Piedra Candela

Ezequiel Batista

Don Cheo, Las 3E

Don Anastacio Cubilla​

Finca Los Cenizos

Black Mountain

Gonzola Batista

Don Cubilla