One of our high lights during our travel to Panama was the Coffee tour in Boquete. Our Tour guid was very competent and told us lot’s of interesting things. Not only about how they make coffee but also about how Boquete has become the home to so called “snowbirds” (People from cold places in Canada, Amerika but also Europ that leave their homes during the cold month and come to Boquete and enjoy the warm weather.) They have been buying all the Land away and now the prices have gone up so badly that the local people can’t even afford to live there anymore. Their also clearing away the rainforest for their gated communities. We saw how pig parts from the mountains where just destroyed from theses people. Pretty sad.
Coffe Ruiz is an independent coffee farm not like in Brazil, Columbia and Vietnam that produce for big Labels like Tchibo, Lavaza, Nestle, Jacobs,illy, Because of that Coffe Ruiz doesn’t have a monoculture. To my surprise I didn’t really notice I was standing in a coffee plantation until he explained that they have many different plant’s like banana, orange, lemon, avocado tress to keep away the the insects. That way they don’t need any toxic and fertilizer plus it’s better for the soil since they don’t have a monoculture. From faraway the farm looks like a normal mountain. That’s right mountain; Arabica plants are usually cultivated around 1300-1500 altitude.
The Beans grow inside little fruits that turn red when their ready to be picked. Their are many different ways to continue the process after they are picked.
Natural (unwashed): Of course the best one is the natural process also called unwashed and is the oldest method. The cherries (red coffee fruit) are washed and than spread out to dry in the sun. This takes about 4 weeks, which is pretty long
Honey (semi-washed): In this process the outer red skin is removed and than dried in the sun. Depending on the weather this takes about 10-12 days to dry.
wet process: The three layers of the coffee beens are removed, than the beens are dried in big drying machines. This is the easiest and most efficient way of processing coffee. So next time you drink coffee try to find out how it was processed.
The coffee farm I was at sells all variations, depending on what the client wants. Coffee farms sell the dried green coffee beans to the different brands. The companies than do the roasting.
Also here their are different methods or rather different preferences. In Italy and France they like to roast their coffee very very strongly.
Light roast also called cinnamon roast, tastes more like tea and is very popular in japan. This also contains the most caffeine. Not espresso what most people belive.
Medium Roast also called America roast is my personally favorite. It smells like coffee but not to strong or burnt.
French and Italien roast are the darkest, although the Italien one is just a little darker. These beans smell a little burnt and have a very unpleasant. aftertaste what also explains why you usually get a glass of water to your coffee.
Our coffee expert likes the medium roast best but he also told us that on coffee competitions the experts want to have a light roast since that’s how you can enjoy the full taste of the coffee. But in the end it’s like wine, the best coffee is the one you like best.
Our coffee guid also told us that big companies love to buy the bad beans. They mix them with some twigs and other beans, grind them and ad some aromas. Voila… here’s your finished Nespresso or instant coffee. So rule number one: Never trust coffee if you didn’t see the ungrounded coffee beans!