Wind and rain…wind and more rain…and more wind…and more rain. That’s been today in Boquete. It didn’t totally stop us but it was definitely ill advised to go hiking or ziplining today. The weather just did not cooperate.
We did manage to take a Coffee Tour. We went with Hello Panama Tours since we had a good experience with them in Bocas. It was a couple of hours and was near town. The tour was guided by an expert in how coffee is grown, harvested and produced in a very small local finca. The gardens where the coffee plants were grown were amazing as well. The owner is also a beekeeper. They have created an environment where natural pollination can occur so that the coffee plants produce twice what they would with self-pollination.
We learned about the three types of coffee plants with Aribica being the best. That is what is grown in Boquete. We toured the El Jardin Del Cafe and sampled some very fresh Boquete Estate Coffee from beans picked and roasted yesterday. We learned all about coffee production on a small scale where no mechanical equipment is used. The beans are handpicked and hand processed with the utmost care. The coffee here is $10 per pound – about 40 per cent of their annual production is sold here at the tour shop and the rest imported out of the country at a much higher price.
Some things that I learned..the coffee is exported as green beans as that’s the only way for the roaster to see the quality of the bean. Roasters are professionally licensed and the only ones who can sell the roasted coffee to coffeeshops and retailers. Lighter roast is higher in caffeine…and darker has little or no caffeine left. Most coffee shops do not serve 100# Aribica beans because of the scarcity and therefore the price of those beans. Aribica beans are primarily found in countries along the equator and grow and 1000-1800 m above sea level in a cloud forest most successfully.
Brewing and drinking the perfect cup of coffee is definitely an art, much like wine making and tasting. Practice makes perfect – so drink more coffee and enjoy life!