ICON 03, Rocosa Montaña Gesha
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This month we continue our ICON series with another Gesha, this time from one of the most respected producers in the country which made Gesha famous, Panama. This outstanding lot is packed full of tropical fruit flavours and floral notes with an amazing sherbet-like sweetness.
PRODUCER: Familia Hartmann
LOCATION: Cerro Punta, Tierras Altas, Chiriquí, Panama
ALTITUDE: 1,800 - 2,010 masl
Panama as a coffee origin is characterised by very distinct regional microclimates and a growing number of highly skilled and dedicated producers. Coffees from this country cost comparatively more to produce than many other Latin American countries due to a multitude of factors. Real estate here is highly sought after due to its natural beauty, the highly desirable climate and the relatively low cost of living. As well as this, the high standard of labour laws mean that pickers and farm workers are often paid a higher wage which gets passed on to the consumer.
The global reputation of Panamanian coffees was cemented in 2004 when Hacienda Esmarelda broke records with the price it achieved for the winning lot in that year’s Best of Panama competition auction. Esmarelda had for some years been growing what was at that time, a relatively obscure variety of coffee called Gesha, often referred to as Geisha, which is named after its assumed origin in Ethiopia. This distinctive variety is incredibly floral, complex and citrusy with a delicate tea-like body and the competiton winning lot brought this amazing coffee to a much wider audience. The impact of this win is far reaching and is evident from the amount of Gesha which is now being grown in Panama and across Latin America and the high prices it regularly achieves.
The Hartmann family is a mainstay of specialty coffee production in Panama. Their story begins with Alois Strasil Hartmann, born in 1891 in the Moravian region. Alois arrived in Panama in 1912 searching for new adventures. Instead of staying in Panama City, he followed the telegraph road up to Volcán where he bought 500 hectares for stock breeding from the Panamanian government. Later he passed 100 hectares to one of his sons, Ratibor Hartmann, who then transformed it into the Finca Hartmann coffee farm.
Today, Finca Hartmann is still a family business - each member of the family is passionately involved and actively works for the company. The finca consists of several smaller plots, all located between 1,300 and 2,000 meters above sea level along with 100 hectares of rain forest bordering the Parque Nacional de La Amistad. One of these plots is Rocosa Montaña, directly translated as “Rocky Mountain”, which personally belongs to one of the Hartmann brothers, Allan. He is responsible for Finca Hartmann’s processing plants and purchased the Rocky Mountain plot in 2007. Since then he has planted it exclusively with various types of Gesha, grown under the forest shade and produces some distinctive and unforgettable microlots.
The area benefits from a tropical rainforest climate with a short dry and wet season. The cool temperatures due to the high altitude slow the maturation of the cherries which contributes towards more complexity and a higher quality cup profile. This natural processed lot has been dried slowly as whole cherries on African raised beds for a total of 25 days. The result is an incredibly sweet coffee with tropical fruit and floral notes