Wednesday, September 29, 2010

High Quality Coffee Production Around Boquete, Panama

Guest Post By Tyler Ramos

Boquete, is located on the slopes of Baru Volcano, and it is one of the most recognized coffee growing areas in all of Panama. For more than a century, the area has been dedicated to producing some of Panama's best coffee and it is now becoming known on an international level for the high quality brews grown here.

In the past Panamanian coffee was overshadowed by neighbors such as Costa Rica and Colombia, but thanks to several international awards that were won by Panamanian coffee plantations, it is now getting the respect that it truly deserves. There are now several specialty coffees that are produced by the local plantations that have propelled the beans from Boquete to international esteem.

The climate in the region is excellent for growing coffee, with just the right measure of sun, shade and humidity. The soil is volcanic and highly fertile, which helps to produce a particularly rich flavored coffee bean.

For visitors who are interested in experiencing some of the world's best coffee as fresh as possible, there are coffee tours that you can do to sample the local brews at the site where they are grown, harvested and roasted. The tours also teach you about the history of coffee growing in the region and you can see coffee mills that are more than a century old.

Panamanian Rainforest Coffee Medium Roast, Universal Grind - 8 oz.

During the coffee tours that you can take at Boquete, you will learn about all different aspects of growing, harvesting, processing and selling the coffee. You will get to know more about how fair trade and organic production of the coffee works as well as getting hints on how to make the perfect cup of coffee yourself.

When the coffee is to be harvest, there are two different kinds of processing that can be done and both are performed in Boquete. The first is wet processing, where the beans are first washed and pulped. When this has happened, then they are dried out and the bean is extracted from the cherry. Only 20 per cent of the cherries is actual bean, so the cherry pickers work hard to pick between 100 and 200 pounds of coffee each day.

Alternatively you can find dry processing, which is done by laying the beans out on open air platforms to dry out. The beans have to be raked and rotated every few hours to ensure that they are evenly dried and that there is no build up of mildew. This process gives the beans a gorgeous earthy flavor, but it is more labor intensive and therefore more expensive.

When the processing is done, then the beans are chosen according to their size and quality. They are grouped together and then undergo a process known as cupping, where they are stored for up to six months and continually judged for readiness. When they are ready, the coffee beans are packaged and 90 per cent is now exported out of Panama to the waiting lips of coffee lovers worldwide.

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