Boquete, Panama is a frequent vacation destination for my husband and I. I thought I had better brush up on the coffee making process since this region is so famous for its delicious coffees. The most recommended coffee tour by friends and locals, as well as designated the best Boquete coffee tour by TripAdvisor, is the Finca Dos Jefes tour. The tour costs $30. Owner Rich Lipner, an expat from California, picks you up and drops you off in town for convenience. Not only does Rich own the fair trade organic finca, but he also conducts the tour, which is a nice special touch. Beware, his passion for coffee will win over even the non-coffee drinker.
My First Coffee Tour In Boquete
Finca (country estate) Dos Jefes is a 7 acre estate in the highlands of Boquete. Rich began our tour by walking us through the life cycle of the coffee bean. While exploring his farm, he explained how to handle the delicate coffee cherries. Cherries are the fruits on the coffee plants that ripen, are twisted off the branches by hand, as so not to spoil the cherry, in order to be dried and roasted. The drying process for Rich’s beans is the same as in Africa, in the sun over mesh wire beds. The beans are turned frequently and with the phases of the moon. His staff seemed friendly and hard-working Some live on his property and attend the university to further their education. While walking the property, there are nice photo ops for beautiful flowers and fruit trees. The fruit from the trees is donated to the indigenous families in the area.
After touring the home of the coffee plants and hearing the process, we gathered in the cupping room to help roast the beans. We roasted light and dark roast beans, then brewed coffee to sample. Cafe de la Luna’s dark, medium, and light roast coffees were served at a table on the cute little patio, paired with cookies. Rich encouraged us to try each of the three roasts.
This Coffee Will Make a Coffee Drinker Out of You
Though I am a non-coffee drinker, the tastes were very different and I found the coffee smooth and delicious. Of course I had to doctor mine up with sugar and cream, but it was enjoyable, and did not have the typical aftertaste. We also got to try a sampling of the pre-roasted coffee beans. Afterwards, Rich opened the floor for questions. When the tour concludes, he sent us home with a pound of our favorite roast of coffee. How great is that? All for $30 ticket price.
Taking this tour through the eyes of someone who does not drink coffee (unless you classify an occasional pumpkin spice latte just for social kicks as a coffee drinker), you may have different feelings on the coffee process. Boquete coffee crops are now produced and exported all over the world, and are some of the best in the world. Brazil is the leading exporter with over five billion pounds harvested annually.
Years ago, African farmers noticed their goats were very energetic, a result of eating a certain kind of berries or beans. Finally they tried the beans themselves as a snack. Ethiopia, Africa, is the birthplace of coffee and everyone I know would agree that it still produces the best cup of coffee.
FYI: Rich explains the way he choses to be an ethical and sustainable coffee farmer. He also goes into the economics of the coffee industry, which I found fascinating. Do not get him started on Starbucks. LOL
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