Auromar S.A., is a Brenes-Eleta family project, devoted to the production of high quality Geishas and other SHB coffees, in a sustainable, friendly environment. The Auromar Farm “Finca la Aurora” is situated between 1570 and 1770 MASL in the highlands of Candela, Chiriquí, Republic of Panama. Yearly temperatures ranges between 16 and 24 degrees Celsius (60 to 76 F), yearly average rainfall veers around 3500mm.
The finca is comprised of 30.5 hectares (75 acres). The total farmed area is 14.5 hectares in the lower 2/3 of the elevation. The rest, 17 hectares, will remain pristine highland tropical forest in the highest parts of the property. The cultivated area has been painstakingly developed to strike a balance between coffee yields and forest preservation.
Shade is provided by endemic species of trees and high-altitude Hass avocado trees. As shade is much heavier than in other farms in the region (1-4), the area enjoys a stable microclimate offering very little swings from day heat to night chill. Also, because of altitude, the harvest begins late in December and ends in mid-March. There, the cherries take full benefit of the drop in humidity between December and January at season´s change, and the sunny dry summer that runs through mid-April. The outcome of such combination, forest, shade and late harvest is a limited-supply, highly complex beans in each harvest.
The project began from scratch in 2006. The 2014-2015 harvest yielded 4,500 pounds (2000 kilos) of Geisha and 1600 pounds (700 kilos) of high quality Tekisic. Fully developed, the farm should yield some 10,000 pounds of high quality Geisha.
The Auromar Geishas
All of Auromar production is manually collected at the peak of ripeness. Harvesters are paid a premium above the prevailing wages, to encourage careful picking of only the very ripe cherries.
After collection and selection in the field, the cherries either go the mill for washed processing or sent to the drying bins to be processed as Natural.
The Washed Geisha
Known as Auromar Geisha Washed, Ironman or Ironmar, the Washed is the flagship of the farm and our ambassador to all markets. In three years of commercial production, the Auromar Washed has achieved a remarkable record. In 2012, it was selected by Starbucks as one of its top reserve coffees, calling it “the rarest of the rare”. In 2013, the Ironman won first place in the Best of Panama Competition for Geisha Washed. That year the coffee topped the BOP auction at a price of US$ 163.80 a pound. In September 2014, the Auromar Geisha Reserve was successfully introduced in selected Starbucks coffee stores in Tokyo selling at US $18 a cup. The production process of the Auromar Geisha is very traditional but at the same time very meticulous. After careful selection, the cherries upon arrival at the mill, are washed and sun dried in the courtyards of Café de Eleta´s mill. Once dry, the beans go through two rounds of manual selection. The coffee then rest for at least six weeks.
Cupping notes for the Auromar Geisha Washed:
“Hibiscus and very sweet, promising dark chocolate and cinnamon aromas. Flavors of sweet Meyer lemon, juicy, succulent. Delicate mouthfeel has tartness followed by sweet complex and lingering orange blossom flavors. Very balanced and elegant with orange notes all the way through. Judges also noted peaches, mandarin, floral, elegant, sweet chocolate, flower petal”. Willougby Coffee
“Delicately intense, extravagantly aromatic. Honey, lush peach, complex, gardenia-like flowers, crisply balancing roasted cacao nib in aroma and cup. Light-footed but sweetly intense acidity; smooth, silky mouthfeel. Flavor consolidates in a richly tart finish”. Coffee Review 2013
“This new Auromar Geisha has complex layers of flavors, including mango and citrus. It also has a larger mouth feel than what I recall from the past coffee, and a hint of sweet molasses. I picked up a huge citrus aroma when the whole bean bag was passed around, and was impressed at how there were a variety of flavors at different temperatures”. Starbucks review 2013
The Auromar Geisha Natural
The Natural process is by definition more complex and time consuming that the Washed process. It consist of letting the coffee cherries dry in the open either on the ground or in meshed bins until ready and then moved to the mill to remove the dried peel and pulp.
All of the Auromar Natural drying process is done on premises. The ripe cherries are hand-carried to the process area in the farm (no more than 800 meters from the farthest tree). There, the cherries are laid in “African beds”; raised drying beds made from wood and mesh screens at waist height that let air and light over and under the beans. The coffee will then be allowed to dry during the day, and some moonlighted nights. Depending on the weather, it will take between 20 to 30 days to complete the process. To make the Auromar Natural we use very ripe, middle or late harvest cherries.
Our first Natural has been named Camilina, in honor of owner Roberto Brenes youngest granddaughter Camila. The Auromar Camilina Natural made its debut in 2014 and has been highly praised. Coffee Review has put Camilina at the top of its selection twice. In December Camilina was selected the #1 coffee on Coffee Review’s list of the Top 30 Coffees of 2014.
Cupping notes for Camilina Natural:
“Camilina is beautifully structured and almost impossibly intricate in flavor and aroma. The fruit sensation is so deep and so complex that one could find almost any note in it: we settled on guava, mango and tangerine. Intensely floral – passion fruit, lilac, lily – with crisp cacao nib and sandalwood complication. A rich, lyric acidity; syrupy but buoyant mouthfeel. The aromatic fireworks quite a bit but still saturate the finish”. Coffee Review
The Auromar Tekisic:
Tekisic derived from Tekiti, the Nahuatl word for work, and ISIC the acronym of the Instituto Salvadoreño de Investigaciones del Café, is a dwarf first-cousin of the Bourbon yielding exceptional quality and complexity. About 7% of the Auromar plantation is devoted to this variety and the limited production of some 1,300 pounds is in strong demand.
Cupping notes for Tekisic:
“Tekisic produces exceptional flavor with layered acidity and a distinctly heavy mouthfeel. The sweetness of this coffee is intense, leaning towards sugar browning flavors like caramel and brown sugar”. Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
All Auromar production is processed by Café de Eleta S.A., a state-of-the-art coffee plant and mill only 3 kilometers away from the plantation. Café de Eleta installations include a modern laboratory for cupping and hand selection of the best grains and coffees.
A coffee is processed either semi washed or washed. Coffee is sun dryed. Coffee packing is done at the requirements of clients. We have experience using gran pro packing, burlap or polypropylene. High end coffees are vacuum packed and boxed.
For us, sustainability implies harmony and balance with nature but also with our workers and associates. Most of them come from vulnerable ethnic groups lacking material and social resources. We provide them with facilities and educational opportunities.
Auromar is very proud of having built modern and hygienic housing for all our workers, well above the prevailing standards. We have also built support infrastructure in the plantation, to assure safety, efficiency and well-being on the job.