Sometimes described as the Napa Valley of coffee, Panamanian coffee has recently been awarded and labeled with a reputation for producing the world’s best coffee from the Geisha varietal.
Panama is a biological corridor and a virtual hotbed of bio-diversity. It’s home to some of the most diverse and exotic species of birds, plants and animals on the entire planet.
Boquete coffee is grown at high altitude, 1400 meters (4500 feet) and above. The coffee plants experience a slower growth rate and therefore flavor and aromas become richer and more developed. Some of the coffee is shade grown amongst rainforests and natural waterfalls cascading from the higher elevations of the Volcano.
Boquete has a sub-tropical, highland climate – hot, humid daytime temperatures combined with lower temperature rain and wind from the oceans and cool night time temperatures. There is also a mysterious mist that comes in from the two oceans. Its called the Bajareque and functions as an air-conditioner, timing itself perfectly during the coffee ripening season. In addition, there are many microclimate zones around the area of the Baru Volcano, such as Volcancito, El Salto, Horqueta, Palo Alto. These small zones are subject to distinctive and dramatic climate change, so where it can be raining in one zone, the next door zone could be in full sunshine.
There are over 3000 varietals of coffee the world over and some of the most popular are grown in Boquete. Typica, Caturra, Catuai, Geisha and Pacamara are amongst the most well known.Over recent years, the Geisha varietal, from the higher elevations in Boquete, has been highly distinguished and recognized and has won the top awards in the Specialty Coffee Association of America competitions.
The drying and processing is a mixture of natural drying and washed and farmers are experimenting to get the best flavor out of their coffee with different mixed methods.