From the Janson Family:
Sustainable farm practices and the livelihood of workers involved in production
The Janson farms are micromanaged in lots for traceability and quality control. The plantations are separated by forests that serve as natural barriers against pests and protect the natural flora and fauna of the region. We have a private reserve area inside of the farms to protect secondary forests and the fauna of the region.
Our goal is quality production in harmony with our natural environment. For this reason, we maintain a balance of nutrients in the soil without pesticides, herbicides, and others. A testimony to that is the beehives kept close to our coffee plantations from which we collect delicious honey from geisha coffee flowers.
Also, native tree seeds from our forests are collected and raised in our nursery, under the careful supervision of Haydée San Miguel de Janson, for reforestation and for protection of our natural water springs, which are precious resources in our production processes.
As part of our commitment to improve and protect our environment, we have 400 solar panels producing energy for our farms, all excess matter from our processing serves as fuel or fertilizer, and we have an ongoing recycling program.
We see and hear the people who work with us, so we know their needs and address them in the best possible way. Besides providing housing, we partner with the ministry of health to provide preventive medical care at the farm for permanent and temporary collaborators such as harvesters and farm laborers.
Because of the Covid pandemic, we built a new facility which was designed to be able to have living quarters for our pickers and living quarters for a nurse practitioner which we had during the harvest time to be able to tend to our coffee pickers in case they would get sick and needed to be quarantined. This proved useful and permitted us to continue harvesting even in the hardest times of COVID, while taking good care of our collaborators’ health.
At Janson Farm, we have a children’s daycare center that allows the parents to leave their children in a safe environment while they’re on the field during the harvest period. During the rest of the year, we have a dedicated teacher who comes on Saturdays to help school-age children with their schoolwork and alphabetize adults who did not have the opportunity to go to school and wish to learn. The daycare center, named after Mrs. Peggy Janson, lets children play, learn, and spend time in a social environment to prepare them for school. The kids love their teachers and are happy to see them during harvest season.
Good coffee starts at the farm and the process starts with the picking. Our harvest season starts in December and goes up to the end of March to mid-April depending on the weather. It may vary a bit from year to year.
When picking we encourage our workers to pick only ripe cherries and after picking, they also check their baskets to take out cherries which may not belong. At the end of the day our Geisha coffee is transported to the beneficio (plant) in plastic crates instead of sacks like it used to be done because when piling one sack on top of the other the cherries were pressed and some of their juices and sugars would be lost on the way from the farm to the beneficio. Now with the crates the cherries are preserved in a better condition to start the process. When the coffee arrives at the “beneficio” (plant) it goes thru a mechanic siphon to select the best berries (heavy ones) and separate any leaves, dirt etc.
When the desired fermentation period is over, almost all lots go to the patio at least for one or two days to eliminate excess humidity and then go on to different drying methods. During drying on the patio, the coffee is put out in the morning and is constantly moved to achieve an even dry. In the afternoon it is picked up and placed inside the warehouse so that it does not get wet at night, and also gives the coffee a rest period in which the beans keep absorbing sugar and flavors from the pulp as it continues to dry.
Additional information about coffee plantations
Our two coffee plantations are located on the Talamanca Mountain Range on the slopes of Tizingal and Barú volcanoes. The area has special microclimate conditions which are a basic component in producing high quality specialty coffee.
Hacienda, short for Hacienda las Lagunas is our farm located at 1,350-1,400 masl, in the region of Volcán in the Tierras Altas District (High Lands District). Hacienda las Lagunas, named after its lagoons and wetlands, is located West of the Barú Volcano, with rich volcanic soil and several natural springs. The different lots of coffee plantations are surrounded by areas of a natural reserve which serve as natural barriers to protect the plantation and are also a vital habitat for a large variety of birds and wildlife.
Los Alpes was named after the Swiss Alps. This farm is located at 1600-1700 masl, in Tizingal, on the slopes of the Tizingal volcano in the Talamanca Mountain range of westernmost Panama, NW of the Barú Volcano, bordering La Amistad International Park, a natural reserve which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a park that crosses the border from Panama into Costa Rica and is home to many species, including the famous Quetzal.
Between the two farms we have around 100 hectares of coffee planted with the Arabica varieties Geisha, Caturra, Catuai and Pacamara. We have our own nursery where we carefully select special grade arabica seeds for our green tip Geisha, Catuai, Caturra, and Pacamara seedbeds.
In 1993, we built a processing plant exclusively for specialty coffee, including several selections to separate coffee by quality and origin. We do natural and wash processing using updated technology combined with artisanal methods to obtain the best quality. All our premium coffees go through traditional preparation plus hand selection. Our hand-selected Single Origin Geisha is processed and stored with the utmost care in temperature and humidity-controlled storage.
Some history Janson farms is a family-owned Hacienda established in 1941, (originally a cattle farm), by Carl Axel Janson an immigrant from Sweden. Years later, in the mid-1980s, the Janson family realized the land’s potential for coffee plantation after evaluating the soil with the help of agricultural engineers.
In 1990, Carl’s sons Michael, Carl, Ricardo (R.I.P.), and Peter took over the business and officially founded Janson Coffee. They were driven by their dad’s obsession with hard work, quality, and love for the land; and their vision was and continues to be that of a company producing and selling nationally and abroad, high quality specialty coffee of different varieties that we know and enjoy today – Catuai, Caturra, Pacamara and the famous Panama Geisha.
More than 30 years later, the story continues through Kai and Jannette – second Janson generation, along with Jannette’s son Miguel – third Janson generation. Today, the three generations lead all operations in Panama to bring Janson Coffee to the local market and abroad.
Janson Coffee continues to grow as a family business keeping in mind our main goals: producing excellent quality coffee while preserving the land, growing sustainably and improving the quality of life of our collaborators and their families.