The Hartmanns first planted their Geisha trees in 2004 at their Ojo de Agua farm, which is located on the upper slopes in Santa Clara, Panama. Ojo de Agua, named for the various water springs that are born within the farm, ranges in altitude from 1450m to 1550m. The conditions are beautiful for growing coffee. The soil drains slowly, the topsoil is covered by friendly foliage from the surrounding trees, the coffee trees are properly spaced out to provide ample nutrients and create sustainable demands on the soil. The coffee plots are spaced out between various protected forest areas that the Hartmanns cherish and protect.
Since Geisha is a coffee that generates a high price, any problems with the trees could affect the farm severely. So, the Hartmann’s tend to their Geisha trees with extra care and love. They are always nicely pruned, and the soil surrounding the trees is very well maintained to ensure a proper balance between healthy surrounding vegetation and protection of soil nutrients. The picking of the Geisha trees is tedious and impeccable. The Hartmann’s have a demanding picking schedule – most farmers pick a tree 2-4 times per harvest, while the Hartmanns are picking the Geisha trees as much as 10 times per harvest. This of course has a serious impact on the production cost of their Geisha.
The Hartmann’s are continually looking for ways to better their quality. In this spirit, the family takes a unique approach to their natural anaerobic geisha. After the cherry is harvested, they place it in barrels to ferment. As the coffee ferments and gas escapes, no air can get in. The longer the cherry is left in the barrels, the funkier and wilder it gets. Once they have fermented to the right point, the Hartmanns pull the cherries out and rinse them, leaving the fruit intact. Next comes the drying. This lot had a one-day ferment period in the tank and the resulting cup is super elegant and subtle. The coffee cupped with a lot of berries and mandarin and very perfumed.
One of the coolest things about this coffee is how it was dried. Back in 2014, Ratibor had become convinced that the best and only way to dry natural processed coffees was to gently dehydrate the coffee, rather than to dry it out in the sun or in mechanical dryers. So, after several experiments, Ratibor built a dehydrating chamber in a room just outside his house and did some testing on specific lots in 2017. He further refined the process in 2018 and 2019, and in 2020, he made his experimental chamber a permanent fixture for his coffees. As of last year, he helped the family build a larger dehydrating chamber for the Hartmann coffees. This chamber kept the humidity below 50%, the temperature around 30C and the air moving quickly. When I tasted the Hartmann Geisha naturals in Panama this year, I thought they were the cleanest, tastiest, most consistent naturals I had ever tasted in my 13 years of visiting the farm.
This green coffee was frozen immediately on arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.