About Panama Finca Lerida Catuai Washed
We have offered coffee from Finca Lerida in the past, and have always been impressed by the attention to detail in their processing methods. We were able to secure several lots from the farm this year when we attended the Best of Panama Competition, where Finca Lerida had three coffee lots win.
Cupping table at Finca Lerida
Finca Lerida is a farm with a rich and unique history. Its founder, Tollef B. Monniche, came to Panama from Norway in 1907 to work as an engineer on the Panama Canal. Tollef retired in 1924, and bought a small farm in Boquete, Panama with his wife - the property was called "Lerida" after the city in Spain. He built a house and on the property, and went to work planting coffee trees as well as fruits and vegetables. He built a dam on the farm, to provide water to the coffee processing plant there, and also developed and patented a device, called the "Sifon" to separate ripe cherries from unripe ones. This device is still in use today, not only at Finca Lerida, but also on coffee farms worldwide.
Today, Finca Lerida is run by the Chiari family, who coordinate coffee growing with surrounding rainforest preservation. It also houses a hotel, where patrons can take tours of the farm land and enjoy the ambiance of the rainforest. The farm sits at an altitude of 5250-6020 feet above sea level, and grows Caturra, Catuai and Geisha varietals, which are processed several ways.
Owner of Roastmasters, Barry, with Sonia, one of the owners of Finca Lerida
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. It is fully washed, meaning the outer skin and pulp (fruit surrounding the coffee husk) are totally removed during milling before being sun dried on patios.
- Province: Chiriqui
- District: Boquete
- Township: Los Naranjos
- Altitude: 5250-6020 feet above sea level
- Coffee variety: Catuai
- Processing: Washed
- Farm: Finca Lerida
Cup Characteristics: Strong, distinct flavors of toasted almond, rosewater, green pea, rye and graham crackers.
Roasting Notes: The preferred roasting range of this coffee is City+ to Full City. The delicate qualities will be present throughout this range, with lighter variations highlighting piquant 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.