The two major concerns in the coffee industry are the price determined by the commodity market and the disconnect between farmers and consumers.
In response to these, Cuatro Camino Coffee Estates has focused our efforts on two strategies:
- Enter the Specialty Coffee industry with a high-quality coffee, and, therefore, obtain better prices.
- Manage a vertically integrated system. This means we have full control over the production value chain, from the farm management up to the processing and roasting, and selling of the coffee.
This arrangement, in which the supply chain of the company is owned by the company, allows us to have complete control over the quality of our green coffees, and secure supplies and/or distribution channels and obtain a better sales price, without putting at risk our profits as a company.
From Seed to Green Bean
Domaines de café Cuatro Caminos is managed by a multidisciplinary team, integrated by a coffee expert engineer, an agronomist, a biologist, Q-graders, and a group of coffee farm workers that have been with us since the beginning of the company. A staff completely dedicated to managing our 11 farms.
This team is responsible for the nursery management, soil management, pest and disease control, pruning, shade and weed control throughout the year.
Our nurseries are strategically located throughout our farms in order to reduce transport costs and preserve the quality of the seedlings.
At the beginning of each new cycle, we take soil samples from each farm to determine the status of the soil (Ph, mineral levels, % organic matter). Based on those results we develop a fertilization and nutrition plan for each farm. The fertilization plan includes foliar and soil fertilization for the young and adult plants.
Each of the cultural activities are taking place during the year, which is vital to keeping the health and production of our coffee trees.
Harvesting: All of our coffee comes from our farms, located in different geographic regions in Boquete and we harvest only perfectly ripe cherries. This means we have many picking cycles in one harvest season which allows us to harvest only the best quality coffee.
After the coffee has been harvested, our transportation teams bring the coffee to our centrally located, wet and dry processing mill. Once here, we weigh the total amount of coffee cherries harvested during the day and start to process it.
From this moment, each batch has a code that allows us to keep a record of what happens to the coffee throughout each stage.
At Cuatro Caminos Coffee Estates, we have an Ecological Pinhalense Mill where we produce and process each of our batches using different processing methods.
–All of our washed coffee goes through a series of steps to remove the pulp and mucilage. Here, the coffee cherries are classified by density and ripeness level, de-pulped, and the mucilage is removed mechanically, and without the use of fermentation tanks, which helps us to save large amounts of water.
-Our natural coffees are classified by density and then sent directly to the patio or the Static dryer.
-Our fermented coffees proceed to a dynamic tank designed at Cuatro Caminos to begin a consistent and homogeneous fermentation process.
Drying process: At Cuatro Caminos, we manage different ways to dry the coffee: Dynamic drier, which is mainly used for our washed coffees. Static drier, which is used mainly for naturals and Patio, where we pre-dry our coffee before sending them to the dynamic drier. We also use our patio to dry some micro-lots.
Regardless of the selected drying method, we look for homogeneous drying processes that allow us to reach 10.5% – 11.5% of moisture content in the green beans. Constant monitoring, using our moisture content specialized equipment done by our staff is mandatory during this stage.
Our Traceability system allows us to know the full history behind the seed, location, and trajectory of the coffee. We keep records of the treatments applied and all the quality controls and control protocols applied to each lot.
Each of our batches has a unique traceability code, which allows us to know the story of each of our coffees.
From Green Bean to Roasted Coffee.
All of our coffees go through a milling process which basically, removes the parchment (in washed coffees) or pulp (in fermented or natural coffees) to obtain green beans.
After milling, the green coffee is graded and classified for export. The first classification method for green beans is done by a Bean Sizing Sieves machinery that will separate coffee beans. After going through a first classification method, where beans are classified by size, our next step is to classify our beans by density implementing our Pinhalense Densimetric table. Thanks to these classification methods, we can offer our clients a high quality, homogeneous green bean.
An important part of the vertically integrated coffee production systems at Cuatro Caminos Coffee Estates is the management and sale of roasted coffee.
We have created 5 different coffee lines which include all our wide range of products, based on our different qualities, varietals, and processes.
At Domaines de café Cuatro Caminos we believe that having the total control and management from seed to roasted coffee gives us the opportunity to control the quality, innovate on each of our processes, define and create flavor profiles, manage the distribution channels, and, finally, offer the best price at the market.