Monday, November 29, 2010

Coffee Growing Around Boquete Region In Panama

Guest Post By Tyler Ramos

Boquete, Panama is nestled into the slopes of the Baru Volcano and it is famous for producing some of the most delicious and rich coffees throughout the country and indeed throughout Central America. The coffee that is grown and harvested here has begun to garner attention from the international coffee loving community for its rich blends and luxurious aroma.

In the past the coffee grown in the country was over shadowed by coffee growing neighbors Colombia and Coast Rica. But in the past few years the Boquete region has shone brightly and won many international awards that has propelled it to the forefront of coffee production in the world. If you are a coffee lover, then you should make time in your Panamanian holiday to visit the region and see how the coffee is grown, harvested and processed.

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.

On the tours of the plantations you will learn all about different aspects of growing and harvesting the coffee as well as historical information specific to the region, organic growing practices, fair trade and secrets to brewing the best possible cup of coffee at home.

There are two different processing methods that are utilized in Boquete. The first is wet processing, which is done immediately after the coffee cherries have been picked by local workers from the trees. The cherries are washed in a machine, then pulped and then finally dried. When the cherry has been dried out, the bean is extracted - interestingly, only 20 per cent of what is pulled from the trees is coffee bean.

There is also dry processing, which is a more labor intensive process and tends to be more expensive as well to produce the coffee. In Boquete, this process is done by placing the beans on platforms in the sun to be dried out and the beans have to be turned every six hours so that they dry out evenly and retain the full flavor of the beans.

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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