Panama is an origin that constantly makes headlines in the specialty coffee world mostly for the astounding auction prices in each year’s Best of Panama cupping competition. At Royal we are privileged to have a perennial relationship with Finca Lerida, a 900-acre estate in the famed Boquete growing region nestled under the ecological wonderland of Volcan Buru National Park where over 550 species of birds make their home. A vintage hotel with amenities that equal the natural beauty, serves as a landmark to more than 100 years of coffee history and a source of tourism income, which was the primary focus when Sonia Amoruso’s family purchased the estate in 2009. (see our producer interview
with Sonia). But Sonia was quickly captured by the estate’s coffee production and has managed the coffee operations ever since. Sonia works with 30 year-round employees and another 60 people who meticulously pick ripe cherry during the harvest. The estate has a mill with more than 100 years of history where cherries are still sorted to remove under ripe and damaged beans using the siphon invented by the original owner in the 1920s. Then the coffee is depulped, fermented, washed, and carefully dried on covered patios and raised bed. Finca Lerida also has housing and a school for employees and their families.