About Panama Abu Geisha Washed
Abu Coffee Plantations is a rising star in the stellar universe of Panama's high end coffee scene, the Geisha capital of the coffee world today. This means that Abu has not yet risen to the very lofty price levels that have been attained by some of the more noted names in Boquete and Volcan Panama, the two growing areas surrounding the Baru volcano: Hacienda Esmeralda, Elida Estate (world record price for both scores and price), Kotowa, Auromar and others. That said, the coffee is fairly valued only by comparison, especially for the level of quality. The farm is run by Jose Luttrell, who has been until recent years, a working engineer who has turned his attention to the family farm and the lure of growing and selling Geisha, in particular. We met Jose a couple of years ago, tried his coffee and were impressed by it. Being new on the scene, he met with some difficulties learning the ropes regarding export, all of which has since been resolved. In the interim, the coffee has only gotten better and we are pleased to be able to offer both washed and natural varieties this year.
Abu Coffee grows the Geisha varietal in the region of Canas Verdes, Boquete, in a humid and rainy microclimate typical of the tropical forest. Coffee trees are grown on the slopes of the Baru Volcano National park in fertile, volcanic soil rich with organic content and excellent drainage, which minimizes erosion. Average altitude is 1550 meters above sea level. The shade protecting the plantation is given by native trees that grow in harmony with abundant local flora and fauna, respecting the environment and biodiversity. Given its strategic geographic location, sunlight is a key element throughout the whole process. The plantation receives powerful solar radiation, interrupted in the mornings and sunsets by a soft tropical mist known locally as Bajareque and caressed by thick fog.
Harvest season begins in summer, approximately December and extends until March, months when the humidity drops, which combined with the natural shade and the Bajareque mist, achieves the perfect balance for the maturation process. As a result, the cherries develop fully and intensify the sugars in an optimal manner, enriching the flavor of the cup. The virgin rainforests protecting the farm help create a unique climate that gives the coffee a distinct body and personality, with intense, juicy flavor and aromatic floral notes.
The farm is named in honor the memory of Jose's granfather and his dream of achieving what he considered the best in a cup of coffee, a geisha raised with the highest standards of quality. Abu is short for abuelo (grandfather in Spanish), the nickname his grandchildren used to call him.
- Region: Boquete, Canas Verdes
- Farm: Abu Coffee
- Variety: Geisha
- Elevation: 1,550 meters
- Shade: 60% by native species of trees
- Soil: Volcanic
- Slope: South of Baru Volcan
- Processing Method: Washed
- Harvest Method: 100% handpicking
- Fermentation: 15 hours
- Drying Method: 10 days on raised African beds
Cup characteristics: Very floral in nature. Aromas of lemon and orange blossom. Very delicate cup with full of flowers and citrus.
Roasting Notes: Geisha coffees have delicate floral flavor notes, especially as a washed process. Roasting them lightly highlights their florality and if allowed to develop a bit with heat reduced or off after first crack (depending upon your roaster) body will increase. If pulled too soon the coffee can be green tasting and thin but too long and florality, what you are paying for, can disappear.
Panama coffee facts:
Population (2018): 4.1 million people
Coffee Production: 100,000 bags (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds - 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: 50,000 bags
Coffee Export: 50,000 bags
Cultivated Area: 26,000 Hectares (64,200 acres)
Harvests: October - February
Arabica Introduced: Arabica was imported from Costa Rica in 1820.
Specialty Coffee Regions: Boquete and Volcan, near Volcan Baru, Chiriqui.
Grades: Strictly Hard Bean (SHB), HB.
Farms: About 30,000 farms.
Botanical Varietals: Typica, Caturra, Gesha, Catuai, Pacamara.
Panama is a rising star in the specialty coffee world. In the Boquete in particular, farmers are taking Arabica coffee cultivation to new levels and recent auctions of small, specialty lots have garnered record, if not silly, prices. Nonetheless, some of the coffee is excellent. Gesha, a varietal that stems from Ethiopia, has been grown here with good success, yet other cultivars noted above, can produce superb results.