After arriving in Boquete, I knew I needed to take advantage of all that I could see and experience while I’m here for the next three days. After looking through the tour book at my hostel, my first thought was a coffee tour.
Fincas Dos Jefes Boquete Coffee Tour
Finca Dos Jefes is a local coffee farm in Boquete that is run by a retired American, Rich Lipner. After retirement, he first fell in love with the property and then the coffee process itself and has turned Finca Dos Jefes into a profitable sustainable coffee farm. Amy was my tour guide (I liked her avatar tattoo).
What is Coffee?
I’ve enjoyed coffee for my adult life but didn’t know much about it. Coffee comes from trees (arabica or robusta) that produce a fruit called cherries, that when opened contain 1-3 seeds that will eventually turn into a coffee bean. At Finca Dos Jefes, they use the dry method to process their beans which is more environmentally friendly but takes much longer than the wet method. This eventually leads to what is known as the green bean or unroasted coffee.
Dark roast vs medium roast is speaking about temperature when roasting. Dark roast burns off more flavor so it’s easier to get a consistent taste whereas a medium roast needs better beans to have a good taste at a lower roasting temperature.
Consumer Side of Coffee
Amy spoke about the coffee industry and how even though the consumer side of coffee is a $90 billion industry, the processing side doesn’t see much of that margin. Direct trade coffee is starting to change that. Roasters and consumer side cafes are going straight to the farms to learn from the foreman about the cherries, trees, and processes as well as the living conditions of the workers. Once they approve the farm as a partner, the cafes can sell specialty coffee by the cup and redistribute the additional profits back to the farm. As an example, when the market price for green beans is $4, the consumer side partners paid $10 and that additional $6 goes to ensure that the living conditions and environmental practices remain strong. Direct trade coffee isn’t a label so it’s important to speak with the people who sell the coffee or look on the bags for the amount of transparency there is about the farm like type of beans, climate, and altitude to determine if the coffee falls into the direct trade category.
The tour ended with a coffee tasting and a live roasting session! Now when I wake up every morning and brew my french press coffee, I have a newfound appreciation for where this drink comes from. I would highly recommend this tour for interested coffee lovers when visiting Boquete.