The Hartmann family are considered one of the pioneering families of specialty coffee production in Panama. Their story starts two generations ago with Alois Hartmann, who settled in Panama in 1912 all the way from the historical region of Moravia, today a part of the Czech Republic.
It was his son, Ratibor Sr, who established what we know of today as Finca Hartmann with 100 hectares of virgin rainforest he inherited from his father, in the 1960s. Today, the land is shared by Ratibor and Dinorah’s five children; Ratibor Jr, Allan, Alexander, Aliss, and Kelly. The rainforest has been preserved with the coffee grown under the shade of the canopy, and the family continues to plant native trees to ensure the ecosystem’s health. The land is famous for bird watching, with around 300 different species recorded, and their coffee is bird-friendly certified.
(Hartmann Family, and Proud Mary Coffee Founder, Nolan Hirte)
Photographs and videos don’t really prepare you for how beautiful it is when you visit the Hartmann family. Just over the border into Panama, from Costa Rica’s Parque Nacional de La Amistad, Finca Hartmann emerges from the wild jungle.
We’ve been working with the Hartmann family for over a decade, and going to visit really does feel like visiting family. Having passed the reigns of the family operation to her children, Dinorah Hartmann made it her priority to ensure we were never without a cold drink, a plate of food, or a warm hug, during our time there.
Finca Hartmann is very large, and is divided out into sections. From the family compound, that includes homes, offices, a processing mill, and a few guest cabins, heading further up the mountain you’ll find:
Santa Cara, Finca Momoto (Aliss Hartmann’s farm), Campamento, Chicho Gallo (named after Ratibor Sr – his nickname was ‘Chicho’), Oja da Aqua, Enders, Rocky Mountain (Allan Hartmann’s farm), Manantial, and Finca Guarumo (Allan and Ratibor Jr's farm). Tessie and Ratibor Hartmann’s farm, Mi Finquita is in a slightly different part of the region.
On the Santa Clara section of Finca Hartmann, is where you’ll find the volume coffees that we purchase; Caturra, Catuai, Pacamara, and Maragogipe. These varieties perform well grown at the slightly lower elevations of Santa Clara, between 1,300 – 1,500 masl.
The Hartmann family were the first producers in Panama to grow and export Maragogipe.
Climbing in elevation, past Finca Momoto, to the higher elevation sections of the farm, is where the really special stuff comes from. Over the last decade, we’ve purchased some really special coffees from the Campamento, Chicho Gallo, Oja da Aqua, & Enders sections of Finca Hartmann – including Geisha and Afrocina.
After a recent purchase, the newest addition to Finca Hartmann is a section called Manantial. Meaning spring (as in – the start of the river, that feeds the rest of the land), it is the highest section of Finca Hartmann.
Manantial used to be used for cattle grazing and had been clean-cut, to remove the majority of the trees and vegetation. Since purchasing the land, the Hartmann family have allowed mother nature to take the land back, and in the hot, humid climate of Central America, the jungle is growing back quickly. After only a year, large swaths of land are covered in dense foliage.
We (both the Hartmann family and Proud Mary) are really excited for the first production from Manantial. Planted with all sorts of amazing things (Red and Yellow Geisha, Wush Wush, Pink and Orange Bourbon), and growing at such high elevation – it's almost certain to be amazing!
Founded in 2015, by Aliss Hartmann, Finca Momoto is a new branch on the storied Hartmann family tree.
(Proud Mary Coffee Founder, Nolan Hirte, and Aliss Hartmann)
Growing up in the family business, Aliss remembers her childhood fondly, “harvest time was the most beautiful time of the year because the farm was filled with workers and there were many things to do, for example, go to pick the coffee, pulp it, dry it in the sun and store it in the cellars. As children, this was quite an adventure: we climbed on top of the sacks and let ourselves fall, covering ourselves with dry coffee beans.”
As adults, the Hartmann children each took roles at Finca Hartmann – Aliss putting her skills to use on the administrative side of things. As her own children (Giuliana and Giuseppe) grew up, she wanted share those same childhood memories with them – and Finca Momoto was born, to teach them the value of the land, respect for nature, and to share with them the same love and passion for coffee, that her parents taught her.
Aliss applies the same environmentally sustainable approach to coffee production at Finca Momoto, that the Hartmann family used for generations. The majority of coffee from Momoto is processed naturally, eliminating the need for significant water usage.
Ratibor Jr and his wife, Tessie, founded Mi Finquita (My Small Farm) in 2005.
With a lifetime of knowledge and experience in coffee production, Ratibor and Tessie process and help produce coffees from a handful of small farms and sell them under the Mi Finquita brand. The farms are located in and around Los Pozos, in the Chiriquí Province of Panama, between 1.650- 1.900 meters. They currently produce varietals like Caturra, Bourbon and Geisha.
(Tessie & Ratibor Hartmann)
Conscious of how competitive the specialty coffee landscape is, at Mi Finquita, Ratibor and Tessie approach coffee production with their customers in mind. They call it ‘designing’ coffees, applying science, traditional and innovative fermentation methods, always with the clients’ needs and wishes in mind. The results are a series of limited specialty coffee lots, with exotic flavor profiles.
Similar to the work done at Finca Hartmann, the management of all the farms under the Mi Finquita umbrella is done in harmony with the environment, with ecologically friendly products used in minimum quantities and only in cases necessary.
At a staggering 1,800 metres above sea level, Finca Guarumo is a new farm purchased by Allan and Elke Hartmann, and Ratibor and Tessie Hartmann in 2016. The tiny 4-hectare farm was used as pasture for grazing cattle, but they've since allowed the native vegetation to take back the land. The farm is planted exclusively with Geisha, protected by the dense shade canopy of the old-growth rainforest.
Due to the high elevation, low temperatures at night, and heavy mountain rains, the coffee trees at Finca Guarumo have to work hard, they’re small and compact, and the coffee is exquisite.
At the 2022 Best of Panama (BOP) Geisha from Finca Guarumo placed 1st in the Natural Geisha category, scoring an astonishing 96.5 out of 100. At the BOP auction, the 100lb. lot (45 kilos) sold for a staggering $200,000 (USD). At $2000/lb. this is the most expensive coffee we have ever had the privilege of sharing with our customers.
Allan Hartmann, who oversees processing of all of the Hartmann family’s coffees, is understandably secretive of the exact techniques used to process such a spectacular coffee – but, he was willing to share the following with us; “the Best of Panama winning Geisha from Finca Guarumo was processed as a classic natural, with prolonged drying at low temperatures, for about 20 days, in a dark room”. In addition to taking 1st place in the Natural Geisha category, the Hartmann family also placed 1st in the Varietal category, and 4th and 5th in the Washed Geisha category. 2022 really was their year! They are truly experts in their craft, and we couldn't be any prouder of our long relationship.