Eugene Altieri (Don Gene) started growing coffee in Boquete, Panama, over 20 years ago. Prior to growing coffee, Eugene and his family ran an ice manufacturing business - they've since converted the factory into their processing mill.
(drone footage from Altieri Specialty Coffee)
The families two farms, Alto Lino (1,300 – 1,375 masl) and Callejón Seco (1,700 – 2,200 masl), are planted with Caturra, Catuai, Typica, and Geisha. Don Gene purchased Geisha seeds from the Peterson family, of Hacienda La Esmeralda (who reintroduced Geisha to the world in 2004, winning the Best of Panama competition).
Recently, the family have turned the old ice manufacturing facility into their processing mill. The buildings former life equips it perfectly for processing and (almost more importantly) storing green coffee.
The mill has four storage vaults, or bodegas, that were once used to store ice; the walls are about a meter thick, with heavy insulated doors. Originally designed to keep ice from melting, these bodegas are now the perfect place to store green coffee, after it’s been processed.
Heat and humidity during storage have a huge impact on how a coffee will age. Coffees stored in hot and humid conditions will age (go flat, be less special, sparkling, and delicious) much faster than coffees kept in cool dry conditions. The four converted bodegas at the Altieri family’s mill ensure that green coffee is stored at 18 degrees Celsius, and no more than 50% humidity – regardless of what the temperature is outside.
On our recent trip to Boquete, in April 2022, we saw these bodegas for the first time, and were blown away. Don Gene’s dedication to producing the best coffee possible is really remarkable.
(Proud Mary Coffee Founder, Nolan Hirte, Anna Lynn Altieri, & Proud Mary Coffee Buyer James Fairbrass)
All of the Altieri family’s Geisha is planted at Callejón Seco, just to the Southeast of the Volcán Barú National Park. The different tablon’s on the farm are named after Eugene’s grandchildren, the oldest Geisha at the farm was planted on the Dilgo tablon back in 2007. Dilgo is named after Anna Lynn’s youngest son, Diego.
After Don Gene's retirement five years ago, the family business is now run by his children, Anna Lynn and Francisco, as well as farm manager Roger Pitti.
(Altieri Specialty Coffee Farm Manager, Roger Pitti)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when Altieri weren’t able to receive visitors, they embarked on a construction project at the processing mill; building a brand-new cupping lab, small roasting facility, and their own café.
Anna Lynn, Francisco, and the whole family are truly inspiring people. We can’t wait for you to taste their coffee!