Los Lajones Estate
|Location:||Eastern slopes of Volcan Baru (map )|
|Growing Altitude:||1750 – 2100 masl.|
|Size of Farm:||160 ha|
|Certification:||Organic cert. by Bio Latina|
|Awards:||12th Best of Panama 2008|
|Coffee Varieties:||Geisha, Caturra, Yellow Catuai, Pacamara|
|Processing:||Honey processing, African raised beds|
|Harvest period:||January – April|
|Flowering period:||April – June|
|Annual Precipitation:||3500 mm|
|Type of Shade Trees:||Ingas|
|Labor practices:||Ngöbe-Buglé Indians living on site in provided accomodation for the duration of harvest|
|Cup Profile:||Very sweet and complex clean cup with bright acidity, floral and dark chocolate notes|
Los Lajones Organic Estate is located on the slopes of Volcan Baru in the elevation of 1750 – 2400 masl. The total size of the farm is 160 ha, with about 40 ha dedicated to farming. Currently, 35 ha are cultivated with coffee trees, 21 ha are used for production and 14 ha is devoted to young trees between 2-3 years old (mainly Geisha and Pacamara variety). The other varieties used on Los Lajones are Caturra and Catuai.
Before the farm was purchased by Graciano Cruz R. and his son in 1992, it was owned for many years by Alberto Rubio and used mainly for cattle pasture. In the first years after purchase, the lower parts of the property were slowly planted with coffee trees. Recently, the focus shifted to the upper parts, with Geisha variety being planted as high as 2100 masl.
The unique geological characteristics of the property, which is located in-between two lava flows, created a completely different and specific microclimate.
The rainy period is clearly defined, starting in May and lasting up to December. From January until April, the farm is constantly hit by wind currents coming from the Pacific Ocean, which collide with Bajareque (misty rain) arriving each afternoon from the Caribbean. This unique microclimate makes Los Lajones a perfectly dry spot for 5 months during the crop. The average annual rainfall is around 3500 mm of water, distributed into mild showers that take place predominantly from April until August. The rainiest months are usually September and October, averaging 1000 mm per month.
Classified as a highland cloud forest, more than 2/3 of the property consists of primary forest with a high variety of oaks (Quercus ssp.). Moreover, the farm is divided according to the elevation into three different biodiversity zones.
Los Lajones was the first organic certified coffee farm in Panama. All the farm operations are carried out with environmental consciousness and deep desire to preserve the unique and exotic biodiversity of the whole area.
To develop a “Biodiversity farm inventory”, we collaborated with INBio (Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica), which spent several days on-site, monitoring butterflies, macro mushrooms, birds and botanical inventory inside the coffee farm and within the transition zones with Volcán Barú Natural Reserve.
In the next two years, new varities such as Geisha and Pacamara will start producing its first cherries. With the elevation of 2150 masl, Los Lajones is probably the highest altitude Geisha plantation on the continent. One of the crucial aspects of Los Lajones is the zero water usage during coffee processing. All production is processed on-site using Honey and Natural methods and dried on raised African beds.
Unusual weather cycles during this year crop caused a comparatively shorter period of picking and processing. However, at the same time the cup quality increased dramatically. In the cup, Los Lajones reflects stronger intensity with dominant notes of blueberries, dry fruits, dark chocolate and complex acidity.