About Panama Elida Estate Catuai Natural
We have offered coffee from Panama Elida Estate for several years, and 2018 was no exception, despite the smaller crop sizes throughout Panama.
Elida Estate has been run by the Lamastus family for four generations, starting in 1918 when the founder of the farm, Robert Lamastus, bought property along the Baru Volcano. There are three farms in the Lamastus family: Elida Estate, El Burro Estate, and Luito Geisha Estate. With elevations between 5500 and 8200 feet above sea level, Elida is the highest coffee farm in Panama, although coffee is only grown between 5600 and 6200 feet. A large part of the farm is a dedicated ecological reserve area in Volcan Baru National Park, a world heritage site.
Bob, Wilford Lamastus (owner of Elida), Barry
Elida made headlines late last year at the Best of Panama competition, where two of their coffee lots broke world records for the highest prices paid for coffee (per pound). Their Geisha Green Tip Washed sold for $661.00/lb at auction, and their Geisha Green Tip Natural sold for a whopping $803.00/lb. While prices in previous years were lower, the Lamastus family has had an impressive showing in the Best of Panama competitions; at least one lot from their farms has qualified since 2005, and usually they have more than one listed.
Wilford Lamastus, owner of Elida since 2015
This lot is 100% Catuai, a varietal developed in the mid-twentieth century. Catuai is a cross between the Mondo Novo and Caturra varietals, both of which were created by selective cross-breeding programs. Mondo Novo was the result of combining Bourbon and Typica varietals, and Caturra is a combination of two Red Bourbon mutations. This is a natural processed coffee, a brief explaination of which is required to understand the terminology. Since the advent of micro milling machines, most notably that developed by Penagos in Colombia, small farms have the ability to process their own coffee for a somewhat modest cost of entry. These machines use pressurized water mist to strip away the outer skin of the coffee cherry, and can remove pulp (the fruit surrounding the coffee husk) to a fine tolerance, leaving selective amounts of pulp to dry on the husk. When all the pulp is removed it is fully washed. When a tiny amount remains, it is called yellow honey; when a little more remains it is considered red honey, and a lot remaining is black honey. Neither the skin nor the pulp being removed results in a natural processed coffee (like this one).
Handmade wooden trays used for drying natural and honey coffees
- Province: Chiriqui
- District: Boquete
- Township: Los Naranjos
- Altitude: 5600-6200 feet above sea level
- Coffee variety: Catuai
- Processing: Natural
- Farm: Elida Estate
Cup Characteristics: Deep, earthy, and highly complex profile with sweet, tropical fruit and blueberry flavors. This is a big, flavorful cup with syrupy, fruity and chocolatey elements. This coffee has been successfully chosen as a winning single origin espresso coffee in international competition but is excellent made with filter drip or French Press methods.
Roasting Notes: Our preferred roasting range for this coffee is midway between 1st and 2nd crack. The delicate qualities will be present throughout this range, with lighter variations highlighting piquancy and citrus notes, while Full City levels will enhance body. Keep in mind that natural processed coffees tend to roast a little quicker than washed, and plan your roast accordingly.
Panama coffee facts:
Population (2006): 1.3 million people
Coffee Production: 180,000 bags (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds - 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: 80,000 bags
Coffee Export: 100,000 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 near Volcan Baru, Chiriqui.
Grades: Strictly Hard Bean (SHB), HB.
Farms: About 30,000 farms.
Botanical Varietals: Typica, Caturra, Gesha.
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.