Grown in the lush highlands of Boquete, Panamanian coffee has gained a reputation for being among the best in the world. The region rose to fame thanks to the wide success of the Geisha coffee variety, but today, Panama produces many different types of specialty coffee that have become popular with coffee lovers everywhere. And for good reason.
Here are just some of the reasons why Panamanian Coffee is one of a kind.
Taste: Panama’s coffee varieties are loved for their flavor profiles. Panama Geisha coffee, the most well-known variety and the most expensive in the world, boasts fruity notes that can range from berry to citrus and mango to peach.
The Typica variety can be distinguished by its lemon and floral notes and sweet aftertaste. The Caturra variety is also known for its clear lemony and acidic notes, which increase depending on the elevation at which the plants are grown.
Growing conditions: Most Panamanian coffee is grown in the mountain town of Boquete, which has become a coffee production hotspot thanks to its unique geographical location. In addition to the area’s ideal climate, Boquete contains volcanic soil that is rich in mineral deposits and perfect for cultivating coffee plants.
Local industry: A relatively small region containing many different microclimates, Boquete favors small enterprises as opposed to huge coffee conglomerates. The area is still home to dozens of independent specialty coffee producers.
THE LAMASTUS FAMILY ESTATES
One of Panamanian coffee’s biggest contributors, the Lamastus family, has been producing specialty Arabica coffee on their estates since 1918. Kentucky-born founder Robert Lamastus established the farm along the base of the Baru Volcano in Boquete, where the family’s award-winning coffee is still being produced three generations later.
Part coffee plantation, part ecological reserve, the Estates sit at higher altitudes which lead to dense and uniform coffee beans translating to a medium-bodied coffee with pleasant aromas and high acidity.
THE ELIDA ESTATE
One of three Lamastus Family estates, the famed Elida Estate is particularly high, extending from 1,700 to 2,200 meters above sea level. Elida also expands across 65 hectares, 30 of which are planted with Geisha, Catuai, and Typica varieties, with the other 35 being a sanctuary for exotic plants, birds, and mammals.
Because altitude has such a strong effect on coffee’s flavor profile, the high elevations at which Elida coffee is grown translate to a cup of coffee full of character with spicy, floral, and fruity undertones. In addition to the elevation and volcanic soil, there is regular cloud cover and rainfall year-round, all of which combine to become the ideal environment for production.