September 2022

September 2022

Feature #49

Twice as good. Malatto Coffee join us for a second time, with yet another micro lot from Panama.

As we begin to round out our subscription service and move to a tasters box format, its timely to give a little insight into the friends we've made along the way, sharing their coffee journey. Let's look at Malatto Coffee as part one of our September feature.


When it comes to seed-to-cup connections, few are greater than that of Malatto Coffee. Co-Founder Lucas Sena is no stranger to coffee. Sena emigrated to New Zealand in 2017, from Medellin, Colombia, to attend University.

At the completion of his time studying at the University of Canterbury, Lucas made the decision to call New Zealand home. Exploring the local coffee culture with his partner and Co-Founder, Rose Kuru, Sena had fallen in love with New Zealand. Malatto Coffee was born.

Inspiration and knowledge gained from time spent in his father's cafe have resulted in a very focused vision for what Malatto Coffee would become.

Having grown up in Colombia has provided a unique look into the social and economic barriers that inhibit farms from being able to enter the speciality coffee market. Malatto uses this unique position to create opportunities for undiscovered farms to receive fair prices for their coffee while broadening the coffee offerings available within New Zealand.

Specialising in small lots from South and Central America, Malatto coffee focuses on building long-term relationships with producers.

One such relationship is with Santamaria estate, Panama. A personal favourite for the Malatto team and a name we have come to expect incredible things from thanks to their dedication to bringing regular lots from this producer. We are confident you will agree it's a name to remember.

TYPICA (Variety):

Native to Ethiopia, this tall variety made its way to Yemen in the 15th or 16th century. By late in the 17th century, coffee was growing in India. However, it wasn’t until the Dutch took what is now known as Typica from India to modern-day Jakarta, Indonesia. Side note: Typica is also known as Sumatra (variety) in Indonesia.

To complete the picture of this historically significant split, on three occasions, between 1808 and 1718, the French introduced what is now known as Bourbon (variety) La reunion, formerly the Bourbon islands.

At this point, the Typica lineage deviated from its Bourbon-Typica lineage. Introduced across trade routes of various European colonies, Typica has assumed almost as many names.

Despite its pioneering popularity, over the years, its desirability by farmers has waned, especially in the Americas. Cultivars offering solutions to the problems producers encountered with Typica saw it replaced from as early as the 1940s. One notable exception to this rule is Peru, where Typica is considered a heirloom variety.


Coffee production began at Santamaria in 1950. Founded by its namesake, the late Don Urbano Santamaria. Originally, Santamaria estate was planted with tall Arabica varieties, including Bourbon and Mondo Novo, at a rate of 1800 plants per hectare. During the 1980s, Don Urbano’s deteriorating health lead to Don Jose Luis Santamaria taking over management of the farm. Don Jose's focus saw the farm shift to cultivating shrubs of low stature and high quality, such as Caturra. The combination of short and tall varieties resulted in the ability to plant 3600 trees per hectare. Offering both high quality and production-to-hectare ratio. The 1990s saw Ing. Edwin Santamaria take over as the 3rd generation managing the farm. Bringing with him improved processes. These new processed helped raise the quality of the coffee produced.

Present day Santamaria, half of the 120ha property is planted in coffee. The remaining land parcel remain dedicated as forest reserve as part of the vision to engage in environmentally friendly practices.

Protocols include only using organic agricultural practices, while it forbids hunting and cutting down trees.

A fresh, potable water source on the property is made available to cooperating families and utilised in the processing of coffee cherries.

Photo: Specialty coffee association of Panama

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