Panama Gesha – Finca Lerida Coffee Estate

$45.00

$45 with free shipping

6 ounces

9 in stock

Category:

Description

ABOUT THIS COFFEE

Panama’s Gesha cultivar, originally descended from a landrace collected in the district of Gesha, near Ethiopia’s Keffa Forest, has had a niche marketplace all to itself for over 15 years. Of all the many attempts to cultivate the original Gesha’s genetics across the Americas, many coffee tasters still believe nowhere is it better expressed than where it was first debuted: the Boquete valley in western Panama, under the command of the Barú volcano’s very specific soil and climate. Almost entirely as a result of Gesha’s success, Panama is now an origin that constantly makes headlines in the specialty coffee world, mostly for the astounding auction prices in each year’s Best of Panama cupping competition, which now features dozens of Gesha microlots processed a kaleidoscopic number of ways. 

This coffee comes to us from Finca Lerida, a 900-acre estate in the famed Boquete growing region nestled under the ecological wonderland of Volcán Barú where over 550 species of birds make their home. Barú itself is an active stratovolcano that is Panama’s highest peak and the centerpiece of a 35,000 acre national park. In this area, tucked into the Continental Divide, Pacific and Caribbean winds alternate at different times of the year creating cooler temperatures, overlapping rainy periods, and limited dry months. The result is an extremely lush and diverse microclimate where coffee—along with a number of tropical fruits—tends to thrive. 

The Lerida Estate has an impressive history and rich heritage. Sometime around 1920, the land was sold by a local farmer to a man named Tollef Bache Monniche. Monniche, a Norwegian, found himself in Panama after immigrating to the United States and accepting work as a lead engineer on the Panama Canal Project. Upon his retirement, he sought a quiet existence, so he and his wife, Julia Huger, moved to the farm in Los Naranjos, a neighborhood just north of the town of Boquete in Chiriquí, Panama. 

Once settled, the couple began cultivating fruits and vegetables and eventually developed much of the farm into a coffee plantation. Their first major harvest in 1929 yielded an impressive quality that sold to Germany and sparked a global interest in the region’s coffee. Monniche’s engineering background led to the development of a siphoning device used in processing to separate low density coffee; the invention became popular in the region and replicas can still be found in use today. Among his other impressive hobbies, Monniche’s penchant as a naturalist led to cataloging the snakes and birds of the region, and his collection of wildfowl was acquired by Chicago’s Museum of Natural History. 

In 1956, the aging couple returned to the United States and sold the 365 hectare estate to Alfredo and Inga Collins, who in turn sold it to Sonia Amoruso and her husband in 2009. The property includes a vintage hotel with amenities that equal the valley’s natural beauty, and which serves as a landmark to local history and has been a source of income for the estate for generations. The hotel was the primary focus when Sonia’s family first purchased the estate. However Sonia, originally planning to manage hospitality, was quickly captured by the estate’s coffee production and has managed the coffee operations ever since.

Sonia works with 30 year-round employees and another 60 people who meticulously pick ripe cherry during the harvest. Lerida’s central wet mill is as old as the farm itself, and fresh-picked cherry is still sorted from under-ripes and damages using the siphon invented by the original owner in the 1920s. Then the coffee is depulped, fermented, washed, and carefully dried on covered patios and raised bed. Finca Lerida also has housing and a school for employees and their families. 

At Modest, we have always been driven by the mission to make great coffee accessible to all. In recognizing that a coffee like this a luxury outside the budgets of many people, we have decided to donate a bag of The Modest to a local food pantry for every unit of this Panama Gesha coffee that we sell.

The art for this tin was created by Laura Lynne Art of Aurora, IL. Laura is a mixed media artist that loves creating collages and murals. Prints of this art can be purchased on Laura’s website. Please follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see her other beautiful works.

SPECS:

GEOGRAPHY
Region: Alto Quiel, Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
Altitude: 1600 – 2000 MASL
Harvest: December – April 2021

PRODUCER
Sonia Amoruso / Finca Lerida Coffee Estate

VARIETY
Gesha

PROCESSING
Fully washed after depulping and fermenting, then dried on raised beds

NOTES:
FLAVOR Hibiscus, jasmine, peach, mild citrus
BODY Medium
ACIDITY Balanced

ROAST LEVEL
Light – City

Additional information

Weight 12 oz
Background

From our importer, Royal Coffee:

It really starts to feel like summertime when the high grade dry processed coffees from Ethiopia start to land, and this is one of our absolute favorites. We’ve been anticipating its arrival for months. While a washed coffee from the same producer knocked our socks off last month, for many of us here at Royal it would be the arrival of this natural coffee from Bedhatu Jibicho, with its delicate florality layered on top of ripe strawberry, raspberry, and peach notes, that captured our attention. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share it.

Bedhatu Jibicho has become a standard-bearer in Royal’s menu. Not only is the octogenarian Ethiopian among the most experienced coffee farmers we work with, she’s also evolved from cooperative member to exporter, taking full advantage of recently ratified changes to the ECX allowing for improved direct trade. In the past, we’d been able to secure her coffee through a special agreement with the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, in which they held separate, and sold to us directly, lots like that of Bedhatu. However, starting last season, Bedhatu and her neighbors have banded together, with support from her son Tesfaye Roba, using the premiums they’ve received to establish a farmer-owned export company to sell us their coffee independently.

Banko Gotiti is the kebele, or neighborhood, within the Gedeb woreda (district) of the Gedeo Zone. Mostly known by coffee folks for Yirgacheffe town near its center, Gedeo is a funny little appendage that droops south of Sidama, off the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region and into Oromia. Gedeb is Gedeo’s southeastern-most woreda, and Banko Gotiti is the last kebele in the east before the border of the Hambela Wamena district of Guji, within Oromia. Geography in this part of Ethiopia can be a little confusing, compounded by redrawn districts about a decade ago and the expected fluidity of borders in a largely unincorporated agricultural landscape.

All this is relevant, however, because this region is fertile, booming with coffee, and also at the center of regional ethnic conflicts that predate the borders. Ethiopia’s woredas and regions are largely related to ethno-linguistic groups. The Gedeo people are one such group, as are the Oromo people. The Oromo have long been marginalized in Ethiopia, despite their population making up nearly a third of the total number of Ethiopian citizens. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is Oromo, and his progressive policies — well publicized in Western press — have largely overshadowed the threats of displacement, violence, and famine in Gedeb and Guji.

As coffee buyers, ongoing support of the resilience and work of folks like Bedhatu Jibicho can provide a measure of stability in uncertain times. It’s a testament to the fastidiousness and quality of the work undertaken by Bedhatu Jibicho and her family and network that we even have the coffee in the first place, much less that it tastes so incredibly delicious.

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