In 2011, Benjamin de Dianous and Stefan Müller acquired their farm. Nestled in Bajo Mono canyon, near Boquete and the Barú volcano slopes, the farm possesses the essentials for exceptional coffee cultivation: volcanic soil, pristine spring water, and the renowned Bajareque mist that maintains cool temperatures year-round.
They named it Don Benjie Estate in honor of Mr. Benjamin de Dianous Henriquez, affectionately known as Don Benjie, a local legend in Boquete and a coffee enthusiast who reminds us to cherish life's joys.
Lost Origin is the brainchild of Juan-Andres Typaldos and Franz Zeimetz, mad-scientists and craft brewers at Casa Bruja Brewery, in Panama City. Inspired by Dark Matter Coffee in Chicago IL, who were using craft brewing techniques and ingredients to process Salvadorian coffees, JT and Franz put their skill and experience to work and started something very special in the heart of Panama City. As craft brewers, Lost Origin have a unique perspective on coffee processing, which gives them the freedom to experiment, and challenge established ideas around coffee.
(precise drying techniques, at Lost Origin)
From Franz and JT;
“To put our theory on trial we first reached out to a couple of farms and ended up working with Santos Cafe for their 2020-2021 harvest. We shared with them our yeast cultures, enzymes, nutrients, and hops and created a couple of processing protocols for them. Simultaneously we contacted Elida and asked to analyze some of the juices/mosto or byproducts from their fermentation; our findings made them reach us for a collaboration with Ben Put at Monogram on a specific auction lot. This type of validation from the industry secured a path to further explore Panamanian coffees and the potential of a controlled environment to exploit its unique qualities.
2021/2022 was focused on studying and learning the local techniques used by traditional coffee producers. Determined to Identify areas of impact within our industry knowledge. In 2022, we presented our unique approach to coffee processing. Qualifying and winning a government grant for the application of science and technology in the agricultural sector of Panama. This allowed us to build a state of the art processing facility, and establish an environment of collaboration with the academic sector to create a dynamic, agile, and innovative space for coffee.
Our coffees are being processed within our facility in 2 very distinct phases. First, fermentation via our custom designed and made fermentation vessels with temperature control, pressure and agitation parameters, Second, our 3 stage drying rooms with hepa filters, humidity control and temperature control.
(custom fermentation tanks, at Lost Origin)
Having a vast brewing background, we understand the importance of being able to measure, control and clean the environment in which microorganisms interact. We have made every component of our process that comes in contact with the coffee out of stainless steel, to ease cleaning and produce a clean environment for each of our processing lots.
Our Lab is focused on exploring the impact and relationship of microorganisms on the coffee fruit. Documenting the flavor profiles and notes created by each trial, allows us to understand and further exploit certain characteristics of each varietal.
We are processing naturals as well as washed coffees using yeast, bacteria, or a combination of both, with the capacity to create the optimal environment for the microorganisms to thrive and create unique characteristics for the cup.
What is unique about Lost Origin
Our processing facility sits above a Craft Brewery in an industrial area in the heart of Panama City. Being 8 hours away from the nearest farm, is not your typical Coffee Processing Mill.
After selection at the farm, cherries are placed in individual 20 Kg crates with a special plastic lining to avoid oxidation and sent to our Lab in Panama City on a refrigerated truck.
(cherry selection, prior to transport to Lost Origin)
As outsiders, we can have a distinct perspective giving us the freedom to experiment and question all general concepts surrounding coffee. Brewing is a collaborative and innovative industry that’s constantly evolving and seeking new flavors, and we seek to bring some of that into the coffee industry, which has a more traditional family-oriented approach.
Not having a defined or specific approach to coffee, creates a process of continuous trial and error cycle that leads to innovation, innovation in a field that has not seen significant processing changes in a while
Our privileged position in Panama giving us access to the best coffee in the world, combined with our processing knowledge, makes Lost Origin a unique place in which we can explore and share contributions that might have an impact not only on coffee producers in Panama but around the globe.