Learning about coffee in magical coffee land !
Boquete Travel Blog› entry 10 of 32 › view all entries
This morning we got up early to join the coffee plantation tour ! After yesterday I was afraid that my legs would be unable to move for weeks, but I actually felt quite good. Torunn was a bit worse. .
We went in a minivan with 4 Israeli people(for some reason Boquete is popular with the Israeli). The tour was really quite cool, the guide knew everything worth knowing about coffee. Panama is one of the smallest coffee producers, but their coffee companies has won the best coffee in the world price for the last 9 years or so ! And the company we were going with , Café Ruiz, had won the best coffee in the world award. They have something like 20 different types of coffe plants too, with the Guessha beeing the finest one. It is actually the most expensive coffee in the world selling at 900$ for half a kilo in New york coffee houses.
It was really cool to learn about the coffe plantations here. It is an amazing way of farming , where they are actually doing everything completely ecological without loosing money on it. All the coffee trees are set in between loads of other much taller trees with many different fruits like Papaya, mango, oranges, lemons, and a number of other fruits. This attracts loads of birds that wants to eat the fruit, which is good as they don`t eat the coffe berries. The insect however will eat the coffee berries, but the birds eat the insect ! And in addition to this these trees provide much needed shadow for the coffee plants. No needs for pesticides with this arrangement! There are so many trees on the plantation that it actually creates 28kg of oxygen/hectar/day.
One coffee berry contains 2 coffee beans which has to go through over 16 steps before it looks like the roasted bean in the shops. First they are hand-picked one by one to ensure that only the perfectly ripe are taken (only in Panama as other countries has machines that just pick everything, mixing the unripe with the ripe….one of the reason Panama has the best coffee).
Then they put all of the beans in water , so that the ones which has insects eating within, or fungal growths will float to the surface. These are the crap beans that are shipped off to make Nescafe , or to Starbucks. This is the same in the rest of the steps, if any bad beans are discovered they’ll become instant coffee.
We went from the plantation to the factory to see some of the other steps.
90 % of the 2500kg of coffee that Café Cruiz produce is roasted at the destinations in Europe and America , because they have own opinions about the roasting (important for the taste of the coffee). We went to the roasting plant in Panama, and got to taste some of the differently roasted coffees.
French roast is when it’s roasted to be totally black because people think it’s a stronger type of coffee when its black , but the fact is that it is much weaker in toast then the medium roast which is called European roast. Latino roast is something in between medium and hard roast.
So after this tour we’d all learned to appreciate the lovely drink of coffee even more then before ! This is the thing to do in Boquete , unlike my trip yesterday…(see last posting..)