It is a tremendous honor and pleasure announce that Equator Coffees & Teas has once again made it into the finals of the prestigious Good Food Awards. What makes this recognition so special is that the coffee we won with hails from Finca Sophia! Those of you who have been keeping track of the goings-on at Equator over the last few years know that Finca Sophia is our very own coffee farm, located in Panama’s Volcan growing region near the town of Cerro Punta. The altitude of the farm is high; at 1850-2175 meters above sea level, Finca Sophia is one of the highest, if not the highest, coffee farms in Central America. The goal of Finca Sophia from the beginning has been to push the acceptable boundaries of altitude to create a world class coffee, while engaging in the highest social and environmental standards. After seven years we have finally achieved this goal, and our friends at the Good Food Awards happily corroborated what we have hoped to be true for so many years.
Finca Sophia is planted exclusively with the rare heirloom Gesha (or Geisha) variety of coffee, which has the potential to produce extraordinarily unique flavors. At its best it can display explosive floral-tones with nuances of reminiscent of lemon, silky chocolate and tea. The Gesha lot we submitted from Finca Sophia shows off these characteristics with intensity and was rewarded by the judges at the Good Food Awards by making it into finals. This is especially meaningful because the judging team is made up of our peers – a panel of coffee professionals from all over the country who evaluated hundreds of coffee entries and selected ours as one of the best.
The Good Food Awards isn’t just about outstanding quality, it also takes into consideration many factors related to sustainability. There was a rigorous vetting process that delved into environmental and social dynamics on the farm. Naturally, Finca Sophia passed this process with flying colors. Our farm has sustainability at its core, from the stewardship of the land to the support and development of the workers and their families.
The farm was founded on a largely deforested piece of land in the mountains adjacent to the Parque Internacional La Amistad. In an effort to create a buffer zone between the park land and the surrounding area, we have planted hundreds of native and environmentally appropriate shade trees on Finca Sophia (an average of 268 trees per hectare!) along with thousands of coffee plants, dramatically transforming the landscape as well as the composition of the soil in just seven years. We hold our farm workers in the highest regard. Our team makes Finca Sophia possible day in and day out and we actively work to support their development on multiple levels. We ensure that all children of workers on our farm attend school and do everything in our power to make this possible.
We look forward the announcement of the Good Food Awards winners in January 2016. We also plan to begin offering the extremely limited supply of our Finca Sophia coffee at that time, so look for announcements in the coming weeks on how to order. Whatever happens in the finals, we look forward to toasting the many years of hard work on Finca Sophia with our friends and supporters. Cheers!