A number of varieties of coffee are produced in the Highlands of Chiriqui. The main criteria when choosing which variety to produce are the quality of the beans, the yield and the resistance of the plant to weather conditions and plagues. Currently our members cultivates the following varieties:
Geisha – (Coffea arabica var. geisha) Geisha coffee plants are known for their elongated fruits, or coffee cherry, and the Geisha coffee is distinguished for its light body with honey and citrus flavors that provide an outstanding taste profile and cup character. Geisha coffee exhibits a subdued yet intense floral and jasmine-like aroma and a distinct though delicate acidity, balanced and bright with shimmers of white wine and notes of berries, mango, papaya, and mandarin oranges. The long aftertaste/finish provides distinct bergamot-like notes. The Geisha varietal was first discovered in Abyssinia in southwest Ethiopia in 1931, and was first brought to Panama from Costa Rica in 1963.
Typica - This is the base from which many coffee varietals have been developed. Like the other Coffea Arabica varietals that have been developed from it, Typica coffee plants have a conical shape with a main vertical trunk and secondary verticals that grow at a slight slant. Typica is a tall plant reaching 3.5-4 m in height. The lateral branches form 50-70° angles with the vertical stem. Typica coffee has a very low production, but has an excellent cup quality.
San Ramon – A Brazilian variety of Typica.
Bourbon – Bourbon coffee plants produce 20-30% more coffee than Typica, but have a smaller harvest than less most coffee varietals. Bourbon has less of a conical shape than Typica coffee plants, but has more secondary branches. The angles between the secondary branches and the main stem are smaller, and the branch points on the main stem are closely spaced. The leaves are broad and wavy on the edges. The fruit is relatively small and dense. The cherries mature quickly and are at a risk of falling off during high winds or rains. The best results for Bourbon coffee are realized between 3,500-6,500 feet. Cup quality is excellent and similar to Typica.
Caturra - Caturra is a mutation of Coffee Bourbon discovered in Brazil. It is a mutation with high production and good quality, but requires extensive care and fertilization. It is short with a thick core and has many secondary branches. It has large leaves with wavy borders similar to Coffee Bourbon. It adapts well to almost any environment, but does best between 1,500-5,500 feet with annual precipitation between 2,500-3,500 mm. At higher altitudes quality increases, but production decreases.
Catuai – Catuai is a high yielding coffee plant resulting from a cross between Mundo Novo and Caturra. The plant is relatively short, and the lateral branches form close angles with the primary branches. The fruit does not fall off the branch easily, which is favorable with areas with strong winds or rain. Catuai also needs sufficient fertilization and care.