Why is Panama coffee so good?
The most important resource that makes this Special Panamanian Coffee unique is its microclimate. The east-west setting of the Republic of Panama allows the cold air currents that flow through the Central Mountain Range to converge at more than 6,500 feet, creating a great variety of different microclimates in the regions of Boquete and Volcán, Panama. These Special Coffees are cultivated in these richly nutritious and balanced lands located in the area of the Baru volcano.
The Special Coffees of Panama are classified and numbered by micro lots that are designed in small volumes for optimal management and that permits the buyer to know all the process information and tracing. These high lands have the microclimates, soil, temperature and height adequate for the sowing, cultivating and harvesting of a great variety of Special Coffees with uncultivated flower themes, jasmine, mandarin, ripe fruit, berries, caramel, special sweet, vanilla and chocolate.
You can visit some estate’s at different elevations, different mico-climates, and plantations that use different growing and processing methods. You will taste the coffee from each estate you visit, have a chance to compare the different varieties, and bring home coffee you cannot buy anywhere else in the world.
Processing of coffee is the method converting the raw fruit (cherry) of the coffee plant into the commodity green coffee. The cherry has the fruit or pulp removed leaving the seed or bean which is then dried. While all green coffee is processed, the method that is used varies and can have a significant effect on the flavor of roasted and brewed coffee.
In the Wet Process, the fruit covering the seeds/beans is removed before they are dried. Coffee processed by the wet method is called wet processed or washed coffee. The wet method requires the use of specific equipment and substantial quantities of water. The dry process, also known as unwashed or natural coffee, is the oldest method of processing coffee. The entire cherry after harvest is first cleaned and then placed in the sun to dry on tables or in thin layers on patios.
The dry method is used for about 95% of the Arabica coffee produced in Brazil, most of the coffees produced in Ethiopia, Haiti and Paraguay, as well as for some Arabicas produced in India and Ecuador. Almost all Robustas are processed by this method.
As the green coffee bean is more stable when unroasted, the roasting process tends to take place close to where it will be consumed. This reduces the time that roasted coffee spends in distribution, helping to maximize its shelf life. At lighter roasts, the bean will exhibit more of its “origin flavor” – the flavors created in the bean by the soil and weather conditions in the location where it was grown.
Coffee beans from famous regions like Panama, Kenya, Hawaiian Kona, and Jamaican Blue Mountain are usually roasted lightly so their signature characteristics dominate the flavor. As the beans darken to a deep brown, the origin flavors of the bean are eclipsed by the flavors created by the roasting process itself.
A note on flavor: describing the tastes of different roasts is as subjective as putting a wine into words. In both cases there’s no substitute for your own personal taste. As a guide, if you can see the oil on the beans, as in the image above, you are more likely to taste the roasting flavors, than the individual characteristics of the beans. Panama produces great Specialty and Gourmet Coffee that can be found in the U.S.
See the processing and taste the coffee: the first coffee tasting tour in Panama designed after the Napa Valley wine tasting tours. Why don’t you tour some of Panama’s award winning, very private, exquisite, coffee estates. During such a tour you can visit three different estate’s, while driving through the lush cloud forest and mountain sides that have made Panama Coffee number one in the world. You will have the opportunity to purchase the hard to find, private estate coffee, at the source.
You can also learn how to identify the different coffee’s by region; what aroma and body mean to fully enjoy a cup of coffee; how to detect what flavors you are tasting such as; jasmine, chocolate, citrus, or fruit. Gain a better understanding of what to look for and how to buy the best coffee value when you return home.
Visit a high elevation Boquete mountain coffee plantation, see the beneficio (processing mill), and taste several micro-roasted estate coffee’s. This adventure is designed to travel to different regions of Boquete, Panama to taste single estate boutique coffee and takes 4 to 5 hours. Most coffee estates are closed on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.