The coffee farm is the place where natural elements and human dedication start to develop coffee flavor. A flavor so complex and so pure that it cannot be artificially reproduced.

The four Janson brothers who produce La Torcaza Estate are fortunate to grow coffee in an area with ideal conditions for producing an estate coffee The coffee farm is located in the extreme western part of Panama, just 25 miles east of the Costa Rican border, at an altitude of 4,500 feet on the southwestern slope of Volcan Baru. This altitude and volcanic soil are well suited for growing the best arabica beans. La Torcaza Estate is one of the world's most unique coffee farms as its relatively level terrain allows the coffee cherry to ripen evenly, resulting in more consistent bean quality and density.

The high altitude corresponds with a longer growing season which allows the development of the complex flavors that distinguish fine specialty coffees. The cooler climate reduces the number of pests that threaten lower altitude coffees. The Jansons complement the farm's blessed conditions by insisting on fertilizing the soil with natural micro-organisms and the coffee cherries's own fertile pulp to sustainably protect the soil. Herbicides are also avoided by careful hand weeding.

Each year's crop starts with the flowering of the coffee trees. With the estate's distinct rainy and dry seasons, flowering tends to occur during a one month period in April and May. The number of flowers on the branches are a premonition of the coffee cherries to come. Much care is taken so that the flowers are not harmed, since if they fall prematurely much of the later crop will be lost.

The fragrance of the coffee flower is remiscent of jasmine and citrus. When a whole field is in bloom, the fragrance is intoxicating. One can hear the constant buzz of bees as they dutifully round up the pollen. The flowers's peak bloom lasts only two days.

Tiny green cherries appear where the flowers once were. Only with proper care and nourishment do these cherries develop fully.' Over the period of the next few months, the cherries grow larger turning a bright red when ripe.

Once the harvest season begins, special care is taken to pick only the ripe, fully-developed cherries. Since coffee ripens at different rates on each branch, it is hand picked ensuring that only the choice cherries are harvested. Training and extra pay offer the workers the incentive to pick only the ideal cherries. In the fields, the coffee is weighed and surveyed again to check that only ripe cherries are chosen.

This meticulous farm husbandry yields delicate coffee cherries which deserve an exceptional level of processing. The Janson brothers have met this need by building a coffee mill exclusively designed to select only the best specialty coffee beans.

Touch here to follow the coffee cycle.




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