Elida Estate Geisha September 22, 2014
We would like to introduce you to one of our producers!
Wilford Lamastus was kind enough to share with us the story of his family and Elida Estate. We would love to share his story through this blog and invite you to come down to Red Whale Coffee and try the Elida Estate’s Geisha Natural for yourself!
Elida Estate Coffee has been in the Lamastus Family since 1918, 96 years of rich history! Wilford Lamastus was kind enough to spend his time answering questions about his family’s farm.
The first generation of producers, Wilford’s grandmother and grandfather, and the family.
Rich in Family History
The Elida Estates were started by Wilford’s grandfather and was named after his grandmother, Elida. His father was born on the Elida Farm and spent his days cultivating the farm that was also his birth place. Wilford was also born on the Elida Estate, at his parent’s house just down the hill. Coffee producing has been passed through the generations with passion and pride. When I asked Wilford what is most memorable about being a coffee producer he explained that his son is carrying the farm into it’s fourth generation of coffee producers. The Lamastus family has love for coffee grown into each generation.
Children of the Lamastus family in 1932
Sustainability and Beauty at Elida Estates
Two of the most inspiring things about Wilford and his family Estate is it’s sustainability and positive impact it has on it’s community. The Elida Estate is located in Baru Volcano National Park and is considered a sanctuary for birds and exotic mammals.
The Elida Estate coffee is strategically planted to incorporate untouched forest patches. The coffee is planted, followed by a coffee plot and then more virgin forest. This planting structure allows the natural forest to thrive throughout the estates. Many animals, ranging from exotic birds to jaguars, find refuge on their land amongst the planted native trees. Due to the high elevation where coffee cannot grow, much of the land is left as an untouched forest but animals and native plants thrive.
The striking Resplendent Quetzal is easily found throughout the Elida Estate.
In their dedication to promote sustainability the Lamastus Family hired The National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica (or INBio) to do an environmental survey of Elida Estate. This institute is dedicated to the premise “that the best way to conserve biodiversity is to study it, value it, and utilize the opportunities it offers to improve the quality of life of human beings.” (http://www.inbio.ac.cr/en/que-es-inbio.html). This study allows them to have an informed and professional sustainability plan for their land.
Other techniques used to support sustainability include water conservation implemented in the washed processing of their coffee. The pulp and mucilage, a bi-product of the coffee, is mixed with the water and later used as fertilizer. Since the inception of this farm in 1918, the Lamastus Family has worked to maintain the preservation of the land. Their farm is considered one of the greenest coffee producing farms in the area with over 200 species of bird preserved on their land. This beautiful land is loved by its producers, who care for the environment with as much fervor as their attention to coffee.
The Unique Region of Alto Quiel, Boquete
Much of the land cannot actually grow coffee because of the high altitude of 5,500-6,000ft. The trees take around 5 to 6 years to grow to maturity rather than the more typical 3 to 4 years at 3,000 to 4,500 feet. This means that they often have smaller yields than other coffee producers in the area, however the quality of their coffee is unparalleled at such a high elevation. Some challenges in this region also include the Bajareque, which is a misting rain that is effected by cold fronts as far away as Florida (Wilford explains that the Bajareque becomes a strong rain when there is a cold front on the east coast or in Florida). This causes the climate to have a short dry season. This unique rain pattern can drastically effect the flowering of the coffee.
Supporting the People
A Nögbe worker proudly displays her days work.
Elida Estate employs the Nögbe Indians exclusively. Some of the laborers have worked with them for 20 years. The Nögbe help with the growing and the harvesting. The farm gives the Nögbe housing and cooking wood from coffee pruning, and a soccer field. Children under 14 years old are not allowed to work and attend the primary school which is less than half a mile from the farm. The coffee is picked and separated by hand to ensure quality and care.
An indigenous Nögbe family among the coffee trees
Care for Quality
Workers separating beans by hand to ensure consistency and quality.
Everything about Elida Estates reflects the passion behind producing coffee. Their coffee has qualified as top ten in all The Best of Panama cupping contests. That sort of quality comes from producers who care for every aspect of their trade. Wilford explained that during processing he cups (or tastes) his beans numerous times to guarantee the quality he seeks for Elida Estate Coffee. (see blog: http://www.redwhalecoffee.com/blogs/red-whale-coffee-blog/14480125-processing-coffee for more information on what happens during the coffee processing). He explained the processing that Elida Estate performs on its cherries, and it is clear that there is expertise in the care taken during this step. Their coffee comes in washed process, honey or natural. This sort of care guarantees that the Geisha and Catuai variety planted on his family land is always the best quality possible for his buyers.
Red Whale Coffee has the joy of carrying the limited quantity of Elida Geisha Natural, which is a reflection of all the care for the land, its people, and the harvest that the Lamastus Family puts into their beans. Come to Red Whale and try our Elida Geisha Natural! You know the story and now you can taste the story!
Written by- Caitlyn Prien