This is a big boozy tropical fruit bomb. Sweet and tangy mango, banana and pineapple.
The Hartmann family is considered one of the pioneers of the specialty coffee production in Panama. I was lucky enough to meet them at last years London Coffee Festival and their passion and energy was intoxicating and I hoped then that it wouldn't be long before one of their coffees would make an appearance on the Crankhouse list.
Alois Strasil Hartmann, born in 1891 in the region of Moravia, then Austrian-Hungarian empire, came to Panama in 1912 in search of adventure, which made him follow the telegraph lines all the way to Volcan instead of staying in Panama City. He was the first resident of Volcan, where he settled and bought 500 hectares of land from the Panamanian government. In 1966 Ratibor married Dinorah Sandí from Costa Rica. Together they raised 5 children, Ratibor Jr, Allan, Alexander, Aliss and Kelly. He gave 100 hectares with virgin forest to one of his sons, Ratibor Hartmann, who turned that land into the Finca Hartmann coffee farm.
Finca Hartmann is a family enterprise, and all members of the family are passionately involved in it's management. Each performs a different function in the growth, production, quality control, marketing and tourism aspects of the farm. Coffee for them is a way of life, their culture, their family. Their harvest employees return every year, as do their buyers, because they like their vision: work together with nature, work the land without destroying it.
One of the many beautiful birds on Finca Hartmann
The finca consists of several smaller farms/lots, all located between 1300 and 2000 mts above sea level with nearly 100has of forest reserves bordering on the Parque Nacional de La Amistad. The coffee is grown under the shade of native rainforest trees that have been there for many years. The Hartmann's try not to cut trees, they replant native trees and plantains to maintain the natural cycle and a healthy soil and fauna, all with the aim in mind to sustain a long-term quality coffee production cycle.
They grow Catuai, Caturra, Pacamara, Typica, Maragogype, Bourbon and Geisha and process in a variety of ways including recently some experimental extended anaerobic fermentations.
The natural process is started on African raised beds, after picking at the ripest stage. The Hartmann's are very careful that not one drop of water touches the cherries between harvesting and them going on the beds, since water would loosen the mucilage from the skin and the beans and then the sugars would not be transferred as well into the beans, as if they are kept dry. Depending on the weather conditions they are dried outside between 12 and 17 days down to 14% humidity which is when they go into mechanical driers, where they are finished drying down to 11%-11.5%. In the mechanical driers they try to create the same conditions as outside, meaning they dry them slow, without too much heat, and a lot of air flow (which is much more important than heat when drying the beans properly and to the core). Sometimes they even switch the driers off at night to let the beans rest.
Allan Hartmann at the dry-mill (nice Tee-shirt)
The processing area is located at the main farm at 1300 mts. As mentioned before the Hartmanns are 5 siblings, and each one of them has their area of expertise: Alexander Hartmann is in charge of growing and the fields and then passes the beans on for processing to Allan Hartmann, who is in charge of the beneficio. Ratibor Hartmann is in charge of quality control and sales (incl. roasting, cupping), and there is a constant feedback loop between all the siblings.
Maragogype is a natural mutation of Typica first discovered in the town of Maragogipe, Bahia, Brazil.
The Maragogype coffee plant is large and is taller than either Bourbon or Typica; however, the plant is known for its low productivity. It's most distinguishing feature are there size, which can be at least twice as big as normal coffee beans (sometimes referred to as ‘Elephant’ beans).
The variety is most common in Brazil, Guatemala and Mexico but can also be found across Latin America. It is well-adapted to lower altitudes but its cup profile becomes more pronounced and pleasant above 1,500 metres. The maturing process is slow, which contributes to its complex cup.