DARK CHOCOLATE. BERGAMONT. CREAMY.
One of our longest standing relationships is with Norberto Suarez in Panama. He owns and manages several farms in the Boquete region. After buying from him for two years, four of us had the great pleasure of getting to visit Norberto and his team in the spring of 2015.
Hortigal Estate, has been family owned since 1920 and today is completely owned and operated by women. It rises 1,400–1,600 meters above sea level, in the highlands of the Boquete region and grows 100 percent Typica cherries.
On their 34.5-hectare estate, Eira Maria Suarez and her daughters apply fertilizer with “precision technology” to maximize yields while minimizing production costs and waste. And at the end of each harvest day, coffee cherries are weighed and sent to their nearby beneficio (processing mill) on the road between Boquete and the City of David. The beneficio’s warehouse is built with Ternium, which helps to regulate the humidity and temperature inside the building.
At the mill, the cherries are washed and sun-dried on patios before being transferred to drying machines, to ensure consistency. The mill carefully follows the processing protocols instructed by Dona Eira Maria; after processing, the coffee is stored in the warehouse to rest until its “attributes and distinctive characteristics are developed,” say the Suarez women.
Hortigal Estate enjoys views of the Volcan Baru and Horqueta (Hortigal) Mountain — the two highest points in Honduras — and benefits from rich, volcanic soil, native shade trees, diverse bird populations and unique microclimates. These have allowed the estate’s coffee trees to grow between 10 and 12 feet tall, with dark green, almost blue-ish, leaves.
The Suarezes say that they maintain strict farming and maintenance guidelines each season, in order to guarantee consistency and an optimized production. “The farm,” they add, “is a legacy we hold dear and aspire to build upon each day.”
We hope to get back to Panama soon for another visit, but in the meantime, please enjoy these two lovely coffees from Fincal la Gloria and Finca Hortigal!
** Note: All coffee shipped as whole bean unless otherwise requested.