Fresh Roasted Organic Shade Grown Mount Totumas Cloud Forest Coffee

At the entrance of Mount Totumas Cloud Forest at around 1600m we have a small grove of shade grown coffee that was planted some 20 years ago. The dozen  trees are all well established and the only care they receive is the clearing away of underbrush by machete once a year in January when the fruit are ripe.  Roberto and his family have been harvesting this grove for their own consumption and roasting the coffee in the traditional way so today we’ll take you through the steps from harvest to a fresh roasted brewed cup of high elevation Panamanian coffee as enjoyed by the Rodriquez Montezuma family.  See the slide show at the bottom of this post which is arranged following the process from harvest to cup!

Harvesting is by hand.  Only the deep red fruit are picked as these have fully ripened beans.  The coffee bean is the seed of the coffee fruit.  The fruit has to be removed around the bean so that the bean can then be dried. Fresh harvested fruit are placed in a sack and submerged in water for several days to soften so that the coffee bean can easily be separated from the fruit mashing  by hand in a bucket.

Once the fruit flesh is removed the beans are laid out in the sun for up to 10 days to dry. We placed the beans every morning on a piece of corrugated galvanized aluminum zinc to dry out in the sun. Every evening the beans were returned to a bucket and the following morning once again spread out to dry. After a week the outer shell coating of the beans begin to crack and the beans are then placed in a sack and pounded with a stout branch or pole to remove completely the outer shell.  With the outer shell of the bean removed we now have a recognizable raw green coffee bean.

Next step is roasting. The beans are placed in a heavy metal pot over hot coals and are stirred constantly to insure an even roast. The beans go from raw green to a light brown and once a dark rich brown color is reached the aroma of the bean roasting starts to drift in the breeze.  Like all harvests, even the humble  small quantity we roasted,  there is a communal sense of joy we all shared.

With the roasting done we let the beans cool just enough to put them through the hand grinder producing fresh ground Mount Totumas Cloud Forest Coffee .  High elevation air, fresh coffee and surrounded by virgin cloud forest sets the spirits free.  There isn’t a café in Seattle or Zürich that can compete with this!

Additional posts will follow on our plans to expand our small grove by adding an additional grove at a higher elevation already identified as an ideal location by a coffee consultant we had visit our site a few months ago.

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