Panama has one of the highest coffee growing areas and therefore brings out the best in each varietal – the higher they are grown, the more flavor they produce.
Definitely the champion of Panama coffee varietals – with the most complex and intense flavor profile of them all. The Geisha variety was first discovered in Abyssinia in southwest Ethiopia in 1931, and was first brought to Panama from Costa Rica in 1963. It is still an extremely rare variety, but more and more farmers are starting to grow it. It only performs well at high altitude, and therefore it seems to have found its home in Panama, where to date the best Geisha comes from. It shows saturated sweetness, superior cleanliness and sparkling flavor that may range from berry to citrus to mango, papaya and peach.
Typica is the base from which many coffee varietals have been developed. Typica is the oldest variety in Panama, first cultivated in the late 1800s. Typica coffee plants are tall, low-yielding plants with a conical shape. The bean has an elongated, oval shape. Typica coffee has a very low production but excellent cup quality. The Typica varietal produces a clean and resonant acidity which increases in intensity at higher elevations. The cup can be characterized by lemon and floral notes and by a sweet aftertaste.
The Bourbon plant also has a conical shape with broad, wavy leaves and small, dense fruits. It is considered a low yielding plant. The best results for Bourbon coffee are achieved between 1.200 – 2.000 mts, which shows that it feels perfectly at home in Panama. This varietals is known for its complex acidity and its tremendous balance. Cup quality is excellent and similar to Typica. Bourbon has a distinct flavor and a bright acidity with a winy sweet aftertaste.
This variety is named after a place called “Maragogype” in Bahia, Brazil. It has the largest beans in the world, often referred to as elephant beans. . In general, the flavor profile of the Maragogype beans which are unusually large is very mild with a subtle sweet acidity. Suddenly bright with a rather notorious fresh oaky sensation. Develops into thick, heavy, dark honey and syrupy feel. Leaves a mid-mouth aroma, rich and some complexity. Smooth while present.
In Panama all methods of processing are applied (Natural, Washed, Honey), whereas the main method used is still washed, applying fermentation and mechanical dryers or patio drying. Lots of the farmers are experimenting with new ways to process certain varietals to create interesting and high quality coffees.