About Panama Altieri Catuai Washed
Arrived September 2016. This washed Catuai coffee from Panama has a quite different story than we are used to hearing. The farm is owned and managed by Gene Altieri, a native New Yorker who has lived and worked in Panama for the past 40 years. While Gene has his hands in a number of businesses, he has struck success with his two coffee farms, earning him placement in past competitions including the Best of Panama competition. Each year for the past several the Altieri coffee has continued to improve.
Gene Altieri has two farms in the Boquete region, one at a slightly lower altitude of 1350 meters above sea level and a higher elevation farm at 2000 meters. The varietals produced are criollo, caturra, catuai, catimor and geisha - this lot is a catuai variety. Upon first acquiring the farm Gene followed the ordinary practices of farming but after learning more about coffee production as the years passed, he began focusing on improving existing practices along with the living conditions of the many people involved in the coffee production. He has seen considerable advancements in the quality of coffee which has not gone unnoticed and has allowed him various awards in the Best of Panama competition.
As the coffee quality increased, as did the living conditions of the coffee farmers and various workers who are native of the region. While conditions are generally very minimal for these workers, Gene and his team have initiated a pilot program that has produced drastic improvements in quality of life. Each family now has their own individual apartments with living, kitchen, and bathroom areas - something that is very rare for this type of work. Furthermore, each family must sign an agreement with the team which prohibits any substance and family abuse. The community is self governed by their own board of directors and is held accountable for ensuring that living areas are kept clean and organized. Families attend religious services together on a weekly basis and wives of farmers who are interested attend a sewing school on the premise that teaches them how to make clothing for both their own use and for sale at fairs in the area all year long. Children attend public school and also receive private tutoring when necessary. Once per month the community has a visit from physicians who donate their time for check ups.
It's obvious that Gene and his team have a deep rooted passion not only for the quality of coffee being produced, but also for the dedicated farmers who make that success possible. It's an honor to be able to acquire this coffee knowing that the effort and hard work that is put into growing it extends to the lives of the ones who deserve it the most.
Cup Characteristics: Very clean and crisp. Apple and lemon flavors with undertones of black tea. Smooth and dry on the finish with slight floral notes.
Roasting Notes: Preferred roasting range is City+ to Full City. The delicate qualities will be present throughout this range, with lighter variations highlighting piquancy and citrus notes. Full City will enhance body.
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.