Finca Sophia is a coffee farm owned by our very own Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell, along with Willem Boot of Boot Coffees, and our former Director of Coffee, David Pohl. Located in the highlands of Panama at an altitude of 2,100 meters, possibly the highest farm in Central America, Finca Sophia was founded in 2008. It is planted solely in Gesha—pairing this legendary coffee varietal and the extreme altitude—with the goal to yield a one of a kind coffee. After years of planning and preparation, our first harvest of Finca Sophia was fortunate enough to be named a Good Food Awards winner in 2016.

Finca Sophia is an experimental farm, as coffee is rarely grown at 2,100 meters in Central America. In many ways the owners are charting their own course, choosing this farm to challenge the conventional wisdom, push the boundaries, and create exceptional, rare coffees. Their motto has been quality over quantity, preferring an approach (altitude, tree spacing, pruning, etc.) that promotes quality even as they grow, plant and hone their methods.

Knowing this farmland had been over-planted in the past, the owners developed Finca Sophia with sustainability in mind. It’s now planted with hundreds of shade trees, along with thousands of coffee trees, to create a buffer between the Parque Amistad Internacional and the largely unforested agricultural areas surrounding it. Half of the 20 hectares are currently planted, while the rest of the farm is forested or in the process of being planted.

Finca Sophia’s loyal workforce is led by its manager, Kelly Hartmann, a second generation coffee farmer whose family pioneered coffee cultivation in this part of Panama back in the 1920s. Six workers and their families, all from the Ngobe Bugle indigenous group in Panama, work with Kelly on the farm. They bring their culture and traditions to the farm and we are grateful for their dedication to making Finca Sophia a reality.

Click here to take a video tour of the farm.