Region: Palmira Arriba, Boquete
Altitude: 1,400 M.A.S.L
Variety: Geisha, Catuai, Typica, Caturra
Nelson Montenegro is 60 years old and has been working in coffee for his whole life. He inherited his farm from his parents, and is quite active in its operations today. With 18 hectares of producing land, and seven more dedicated to green space, this is no small task.
He employs up to 25 people in the area, with more during the harvest. Nelson grew up living and breathing coffee, and his commitment to quality is noticeable in every aspect from the nursery to the drying beds, or fermentation tanks.
CCD is a group of creatives set to spark collaboration in the industry and beyond by weaving coffee together with the worlds of art and coffee, creating a colorful tapestry of installations and cup profiles.
We innovate with techniques that advance the way we think about coffee and how it is processed. Do you remember the old-fashioned “fully washed”? Well, so do we. And this process can make some exceptional coffees. But, at Creativa, we believe that there is so much more. We produce naturally processed lots that see controlled fermentation and are carefully and slowly dried on our patio to allow these unique coffee profiles to stand out.
Our collaborating producers bring their beautifully ripe cherries to us at our mill, and our work begins. First, we make sure the quality is there. We look for average Brix levels of 18° or higher, and a pH above 4.5. After this, we assign the different lots to one of four fermentation designs. Each one is carefully crafted to suit each lot, bringing their unique characteristics to the forefront, setting the stage for works of art to take form in the roastery and the cup.
Drawing upon the knowledge and experience of last years’ harvest, we gained a new perspective. Our appreciation and understanding of the unique raw materials we are given has blossomed. Apart from Chilled Cherry, we focused on one ambient environment and average temperature while exploring the effects of time on each lot, providing the same canvas for each coffee, letting them fill it with their unique palette.
Each lot, both micro and nano, is placed into sealed valved plastic circular tanks, with 270kg of cherry in each. The valve allows oxygen to escape, creating an anaerobic environment. The tanks are housed here at our facility and generously shaded to maintain average temperatures of 28° celsius. Following a physical analysis of the cherry, and taking into account altitude, microclimate, and varietal, we designate each lot into one of the four following fermentation styles.
48 Hours of Anaerobic Fermentation
Plastic Circular Tanks
Here is our homage to the classic natural cup profile. Juicy and sweet, Intrinsic Cherry lots are brimming with bright fruit notes, round body, and are ever so clean. The beans that it leaves us are a vivid green, reminiscent of natural coffees without fermentation, or even washed. With this fermentation, we honor the inner value of each lot, showcasing nature’s potential.
60 Hour Anaerobic Fermentation
Plastic Circular Tanks
Static Cherry is where we begin to explore newer horizons and begin to leave the traditional behind. We see more development of lactic acidity in the cup, darker fruit notes, with a big, creamy body. We begin to see more complex notes appear, with more nuances within each canvas. The physical appearance of the raw material begins to take its own form, taking on a yellowish-brown color.
Extended Static CHERRY
84 Hour Anaerobic Fermentation
Plastic Circular Tanks
From here we step out into the unknown and experimental. The lots that undergo Extended Static Cherry take on a notable brown color, making them seem almost roasted. These prolonged fermentations bring forth notes of red fruits, spices, and aged rum. Heightened temperatures lower the pH and favor the production of acetic acids, making for a truly thought-provoking and inspiring cup. Velvety bodies, lasting finishes, and distinct flavor notes exemplify the complexities within coffee that we are just beginning to understand and experience.
Cold Anaerobic Fermentation
Valved Steel Tanks
The tanks are lined with jackets that enable the flow of cool water, so the cherries are kept at a stable, cool temperature. The low temperatures throughout the fermentation process allow microorganisms to slowly blossom in a controlled, consistent environment. The consistency ensures the pH level lowers slowly and the juicy, fresh fruit profile is preserved long into the fermentation. We are able to ferment each lot for a total as we maintain an average temperature of 14° celsius throughout the entire process.
After the cherries have undergone their respective processes, we set them to dry on our beautiful patio. It’s not only the largest patio in Panama but also one that carries an immensely layered and cultural story. By continuing this legacy, we honor the past while looking to the future through the lens of creativity and innovation.
Our natural environment is scorching hot around harvest time. Believe it or not, on a hot summer day, our patio can reach up to 56°Celsius. It has been a big challenge to understand how to use the high temperatures of our environment to attain our quality standards. Yet in challenging one finds reward.
To guard the carefully drying cherry against the harsh sun, we use two layers of shade mesh, one layer underneath and one 10cm above. This helps us extend the drying period up to 20 days, until a moisture level of 20%.
We use our own dry mill facility in order to guarantee that our high-quality standards are upheld and our processing creativity shines all the way to the final cup. Our sorting equipment allows us to keep temperatures low by minimizing friction between the dried coffee and the machinery. The dried mucilage left on the cherries from our natural process is at risk of sticking when heated, which can cause a number of issues. By maintaining low temperatures, we ensure a smooth flow of coffee from start to finish. Once the coffee is hulled, and the cherry skins are successfully removed, it is sorted by density and size.
Next, the coffee is sorted by color. This is an additional step towards a quality export. The machine is calibrated regularly to ensure that our color specifications are met, as our coffees often come in a color that is all their own.
Then the coffee is ready for the last step. All of our coffees pass through a manual selection phase before being packaged for export. We enlist the help of the local indigenous community, the Ngäbe-Buglé, to oversee this critical process. There’s a lot of work that goes into each batch of coffee we produce. Every single hand involved in this process is a passionate one. People who pour their passion and creativity into every detail are what moves us forward while innovating, changing, and improving along the way.
If you wish to request additional information about the processing of your microlot, such as fermentation time or type of drying, please let us know by filling this form.
We will get back to you soon with detailed information.
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