Longtime Marin coffee business bought the highest coffee farm in Central America along with Boot Coffee in 2008.

Equator Coffees & Teas co-founder Helen Russell, at center, and her team at the Finca Sophia farm in Panama. Courtesy image.
Equator Coffees & Teas co-founder Helen Russell just returned from Panama, where she spent time documenting the work her company has done at its Finca Sophia coffee farm. They just launched their 2017 harvest, and Russell says the trip provided an opportunity to celebrate the progress made over the past nine years since Equator and Boot Coffee bought the farm.

“(The farm) has changed the way we think about the people who grow coffee all over the world – it links us right to the cup and how we tell that story,” Russell says in a short film, below, about Finca Sophia, where Equator and Boot built worker housing in 2011. “This journey has been transformative.”

Located in the highlands of Panama at an altitude of 2,100 meters, Finca Sophia is the highest coffee farm in Central America. It is planted solely with Gesha beans, an “original variety of coffee that was discovered in the 1930s in the mountains around the Southwestern town of Gesha, Ethiopia,” according to coffee industry news site Perfect Daily Grind.

Pairing this coffee varietal and the extreme altitude yields a one of a kind coffee, according to David Pohl, Equator’s former director of coffee and a co-owner of Finca Sophia. Equator’s first harvest of Finca Sophia was named a Good Food Awards winner in 2016.

“We specifically selected Finca Sophia because of its altitude and as being one of the highest farms in Central America,” Pohl says. “It really positions Finca Sophia to produce a coffee that’s singular and that you’re not going to find anywhere else.”

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