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Notes Of A Roaster From The Underground: honey, apricot, peach and caramel
Don Miguel and his wife Arelis, also called Dona Lizy, produce coffee on the highest plots of Cotito in the Chiriqui region. They produce catuai, geisha, caturra and pacarama. You can reach Cotito Paradise by leaving the main road for a stone path and climbing for 2 hours.
Cotito Paradise is a family finca owned by Don Miguel. It is located between 1700 and 2000 m altitude in the area mountainous area of Jurutungo in Panama, west of the Cordillera and right next to La Amistad International Park. We access by the small town of Volcan in the province of Chiriqui. This area has lush vegetation, forests primary, high mountain areas and a wide variety of wildlife. On the way to the finca you can see natural springs and streams that were there long before the region is not inhabited by humans. It is at the end of the road that el Senor Roman Miranda was established in the years 1940 accompanied by his wife and their son. The first years they dedicated themselves to various cultures such as beans, corn, coffee, potatoes ... anything that could represent a food interest. They subsequently noticed the specific climatic features of the place, its soil, its relief, its vegetation ... It was then that Arelis Rangel, the farmer's niece and her husband Miguel Morales took the initiative in 2009 to start producing coffee. on 2 hectares. Today, 8 hectares are planted, between 1800 and 1850 m altitude, mostly varieties Catuai then Geisha and Pacamara. The harvest takes place from January to April and the production is done in the most ecological way that it is with very little water used.
Panama’s coffee arrived with European immigrants in the 19th century, about 50 years after the country achieved its independence from Spain, but as an agricultural product it didn’t gain a real foothold until arguably the last 20 years. In contemporary Panama, coffee is primarily produced by smallholders from two main indigenous groups—the Bugle and Ngobe people—as well as mid- and large-scale estates owned privately, often by European or North American immigrants or their descendants.
The coffee-growing regions comprise microclimates that are varied by soil quality (there is quite a bit of volcanic soil in Volcán, for instance) and altitude (from 1,000–1650 meters), and there tends to be ample fresh water for processing.
The country itself has long been appealing to Europeans and North Americans in search of “idyllic” life in a beautiful, tropical, and relatively stable Latin American country, and the high demand for real estate, comparatively protective national labor and wage laws, and the large influence from the Global North have colluded to make Panamanian coffees among the more expensive to produce as well as to buy. Additionally, on the scale of global coffee production, Panama’s contribution is almost minuscule, and yields have been declining over the past few years.
However, the coffees’ mild profile and approachable sweet/nuttiness continue to draw fans, as a nice foil to the higher and more dynamic acidity of other Central American coffee profiles.