The Most Expensive Coffee in South Africa Right Now!

Wednesday, 15 January, 2014
We chatted to Mike MacDonald of Origin Coffee Roasting for the lowdown on the beans.

How did Origin come across the coffee?

Panama coffees have made a huge impact in the speciality industry and we have never offered a great Panama coffee before….ever. Mercanta- the coffee hunters , had a great selection available and we decided on Kotowa Finca Don K.

Why is this particular micro-lot held in such high regard?

Kotowa received 1st place at the Best of Panama Natural Category 2012. A combo of two classic varietals form Ethiopia- Typica and Geisha (this being incredibly exotic) and Caturra, a mutant of the forever popular Bourbon Varietal-produce a very tasty cup (these varietals thrive in Panama). The main reason for buying this coffee, of course is the attention-grabbing unique processing created on Kotowa called Natural Wine. Contrast of day to night temperatures, triggers high levels of sugar formation in the cherry which couples well with over-ripenening on the tree before harvest (characteristic of the Natural Wine process). Sugars migrate from the fruit flesh to the seed allowing the roaster more to work with ending with a sweeter cup-profile.

In your opinion, is the coffee worth the price tag?

Is it worth it spending R450 on a bottle of whiskey? Is it worth it spending R250 on a bottle of wine? Even if you don’t fully appreciate or understand fine coffees, this lot will definitely inspire you. Yes I believe it is worth it. I’ve always believed that you have to look at the finer details to justify spending a certain amount of money on something. And in Kotowa, there is a great deal of very relevant detail.

When you brew the Aeropress, what are the flavours you hope to achieve from this bean?

Upfront distinct pomegranate and blackberry notes-It actually doesn’t really taste like coffee, but instead more like juice. This reflects in the bouquet.(the full aromatic profile of the coffee- Dry, Wet and Retronasal aroma.)
If you achieve accuracy with water temperature, grind-size and agitation to the grinds- you’ll create a round,juicy mouthfeel.


Finca Don K -Organic-

Varietals: Caturra, Typica, Geisha.
Processing: Natural Wine ( refer to processing below)
Owner: The Macintyre Family ( run by Ricardo Koyner Macintyre)
Altitude: 1700 metres above sea level
Town: Boquete
Region: Chiriqui
Country: Panama
Harvest months: Late single harvest in May 2013 ( refer to processing below)
Explanation of the name:
Don K is short for the name ‘Don Koyner’, or Senor Koyner. Senor Koyner refers to Alexander Koyner MacIntyre who immigrated from Canada to Panama in the Early 1900’s to pursue coffee farming.
While in Canada, Alexander had read a newspaper article about a region called Boquete, in the distant Central America country of Panama describing a mountainous area on the slopes of a mysterious volcano, an unexplored region with a consistently cool climate. The stories captured his curiosity and lead him to visit the region, where he fell in love with its people and the magic of the valley. Four generations on and Alexander's family are still cultivating and processing in the same traditional way.
After securing a piece of land in the Chiriqui province, he then built the Kotowa (meaning ‘mountains’) wet mill for processing which is considered to be the oldest coffee processing station in all of Panama.The original wooden processing equipment is still maintained for show at the mill by Ricardo Koyner, Alexander’s grandson who now owns and operates the coffee farms and mill.

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