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Story of Damarli Estate


In the spring of 1994, Manfred and Ruth Pech would travel to Panama with their son David Pech and his wife Lia (Ruiz) Pech.  This was the first time David's parents would travel to Panama. In addition to visiting Lia's family, the Pechs were interested in learning more about Lia's family coffee business and possibly investing into a coffee farm.  The Ruiz family was very well established in the coffee business, with a coffee heritage dating back to the late 1800s. Lia's entire immediate family was involved in their family coffee business, Casa Ruiz, and were the largest exporter of green coffee beans from Panama at the time. 

During their visit Plinio A. Ruiz, Lia's father, toured the Pech family to visit farms that were considering to sell and encouraged them to get involved in the business. There was one farm that was available in Palmira and potentially another farm that could become available located between Palmira Arriba and Volcancito. The farm located between Palmira Arriba and Volcancito was by far the favorite of the two, with beautiful views of the Volcan Baru and down to the Pacific islands. It was an older farm without coffee cultivation for about a decade, however, it was not available at the moment.

Upon seeing the two farms they met with Lia's brother, Josue Ruiz to begin the formation of a company in order to acquire a farm in Boquete. Josue became the liaison for the formation of Damarli Agricultural Inc. The name "Damarli" was born as an expression of the founders: DA - for David, MA - for Manfred, R - for Ruth, LI - for Lia.

The goal for Damarli Agricultural was to acquire a coffee farm and an offer was made on the farm located in Palmira, however the owners at the time decided not to sell. This was a disappointment for the Pechs.


After the disappointment of the Palmira finca came some good news that the property between Palmira Arriba and Volcancito became available. The Pechs and Ruizs moved quickly and were able to acquire the property and thus Damarli Estate was established. Later in the same year Plinio A Ruiz II, Lia's brother, began to renovate and replant the estate. The first varietals planted were Bourbon, Catuai and Typica. 


Under the management of Lia's brothers, Plinio and Josue Ruiz, Damarli Estate had its first harvest, which Casa Ruiz managed and purchased. The coffee was part Casa Ruiz's regional export blend known as Maunier.


The Panama Geisha started to become a world phenomenon in 2004, when the Peterson Family wowed the world in the Best of Panama with their winning Geisha coffee. Plinio Ruiz was able to purchase some of the Geisha varietal from Price Peterson from their Jarimillo estate and planted some in many of the farms of Casa Ruiz and at Damarli Estate.


In 2014, David and Lia's son Keith moved from the United States to Panama to begin a new project at Damarli Estate. Keith began to work on developing Damarli Estate as its own export brand and started to identify the different varieties and mapping out the plots. He began moving more of the estate toward specialty coffee by dedicating his time to learn the art of cupping coffee with his aunt Dr. Maria Ruiz in order to evaluate the coffee from Damarli Estate. He began to plan trips for 2015 to visit different international coffee shows in the US, and Taiwan.


Keith attended both the SCAA Coffee Show in Seattle in April and the Coffee, Tea and Wine Expo in Taiwan in November, which led to the beginning of new relationships in both the USA and Taiwan.

In December 2015 Keith and the team at Damarli started to build raised drying beds to process day lots at the estate.


Keith was able to export his first container by selling the majority of the crop to a roastery in the United States and some small day lots to Taiwan. 


In March 2016 Keith passed to become a Certified Aribica Q Grader in Portland, Oregon, USA.


David also began to pour more time and investment into Damarli. He built a house on the estate to accept visitors and to live more time on the farm. 

Keith moved in October to Bordeaux, France to do an MBA in Luxury Brand Management with a focus in Food and Wine.



David began to take charge of the entire farm during this harvest and finished building his house and lodge to except guests.

David began to build the processing mill "Don Manfred" and expand the raised drying beds for the following year.

Keith continued to manage the coffee sales of the estate and participated as a Best of Panama National Judge.


David continued building the processing mill "Don Manfred" and added a cupping lab to evaluate the day lots and to accept coffee professionals to taste at the farm.

This was also the year that David began to experiment with new fermentation methods for coffee.


Damarli Estate gained its first two titles in the Best of Panama: 1st Place Pacamara and 2nd Place Traditional Natural using the new fermentation methods that David began to experiment with in 2018.

A new plot of Panama Geisha was planted with seed from Mama Cata Estate Tona Lot.


Damarli Estate again took an award in the Best of Panama: 2nd Place Pacamara.

David built a small roastery on the estate in order to begin to offer freshly roasted coffee directly from Damarli Estate.

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