Farm: Finca Don K
Processing: Honey Process
Altitude: 1,700 metres above sea level
Owner: Ricardo Koyner
Town / City: Boquete
Overall: Strawberry Yoghurt, Rum, Jackfruit,, Medium Syrupy body, Winey
Finca Kotowa Duncan Honey - Panama
The Kotowa farms (which include Finca Duncan – where this coffee was grown) were named by Alexander Duncan MacIntyre, a Canadian who settled in the Boquete region in 1918. Inspired by the high, cool climate of the area, he used the name ‘Kotowa,’ meaning "mountain" in the local Ngobe language, to designate the land that currently composes the Kotowa estate.
While in Canada, Alexander had read a newspaper article about a mountainous region called Boquete, an unexplored region in Panama located on the slopes of a mysterious volcano. The stories captured his imagination and led him to visit the region, where he fell in love with the magic of the valley and its people. Four generations on, and Alexander's family are still cultivating and processing coffee in the same traditional way.
On the volcanic slopes of the farm, you can see the distant Pacific Ocean on one side and the near-by rugged mountains of the continental divide on the other. This area is naturally blessed with a climate where the perfect combination of rain, wind, sunshine, clouds and temperature produce an organic coffee with a distinctive character.
Additionally, the interaction of three specific conditions makes this coffee so unique:
Microclimate: Finca Don K is located at 1700 meters above sea level and is right in the middle of Panama - only 40 km from both the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. As well as benefiting from the rains from both oceans, the land receives a cool dry breeze from the Atlantic and the moisture from the Pacific.
Furthermore, Finca Duncan is situated on the rich, nutritious slopes of the Baru Volcano. Temperatures range from 12°C at night to 25°C during the day. This variation in temperature triggers the formation of sugars in the coffee cherry, and the volcanic minerals make for the development of full and complex fruit flavours.
Duncan is managed using strictly organic production methods, meaning no herbicides or pesticides are used on the farm. All fertiliser used on the farm is produced as a by-product of wet processing. The coffee pulp is treated with efficient microorganisms during the composting stages, which means a maximisation of macro and micronutrients. Potassium, in particular, is delivered to the soil by this rich mixture, which is very important for the development of the coffee bean.
Facilities: Kotowa possesses the only mill in Panama – and probably of many other countries - that uses a coffee resting facility that is refrigerated. Resting the coffee at a cool and constant 15°C, with relative humidity control at 65%, ensures that no changes occur in the chemical composition of the bean and that 65% relative humidity is maintained.
This 100% Caturra ‘Honey’ hails from Ricardo Koyner’s ‘Finca Duncan.’ Once the coffee has been picked, sorted, washed and pulped, the coffee is added to the fermentation tanks. Here, the team at Finca Duncan add yeast to stimulate the fermentation process. Once the fermentation is complete, the coffee is washed and sorted again, before being moved to the drying area. Firstly, the parchment coffee is left for 2 days to rest covered under yute bags. Next, the coffee is moved to an area shaded by trees, to dry for another 3 days. Finally, the coffee is moved for a third time; moved into the direct sun to be dried for a further 15 days. Once the cherries are dried sufficiently, they are then milled. The coffee is then carefully separated and selected by size, weight and colour. Every batch is roasted and cupped to make sure that only the best beans bear the name Kotowa.
Kotowa’s quality control is assured by their traceability system. Each bag of every lot processed has an identification mark that contains detailed information about all the activities of the harvest and milling.
The farm also endeavours to protect the virgin forests surrounding the plantation, ensuring that there are no fires in the dry season and that there is no hunting or degradation of the environment. The area is the natural habitat of many birds, both local and migratory - because of its geographic location and small size, Panama has more bird species than all of North America and Europe together. To ensure that these continue to thrive, Kotowa has planted more than 500 indigenous trees that produce fruits and nuts on which they feed.
For the people that work on the farm, Kotowa provides free medical attention, a school program, and a pre-school program – the latter two of which provide meals to the attending children. These social programs have earned Kotowa Farm recognition from UNICEF nine years in a row.
Kowtowa’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/kotowacoffeehouse
Kowtowa’s Estate page - http://kotowacoffee.geishacoffee.com/