I arrived in a little town called Boquete at about8pmin complete darkness. Little did I know, that we were at a 1200m elevation and when sunny, the scenery is absolutely beautiful. Because it is rainy season, the days here are sunny in the morning and then around1pmit gets cloudy and in the afternoon it rains. And so rainy season, means low season. I am staying at a great hostel, the owner is American and has been year for 7 years, he is very nice. So unfortunately, I cannot find anyone to hike upPanama’s only volcano (at 3800m).
However, I was lucky yesterday to get on a coffee tour at an organic coffee farm owned by two American retirees. It is one of the only organic farms in the area, out off about 300 different farms (small, medium and large ones). The only reason why products are used on coffee is because of a fungi that can sometimes occur, but this happens even with pesticides. The yield for an organic coffee farm however, is half. Rich told us everything he knew about coffee, he has not been doing it for very long, and told us he could not put food on the table with what he makes, which is why he now does tours. We were with him for a little more than 3hs and we walked through the coffee, he made us pick some beans and he explained and showed us the whole process. Afterwards, he made us smell 3 different kinds of roasts and then we tasted them. Then, I got to help roast some beans and he packaged bags for me and the two others on the tour with us as a gift. (http://www.boquetecoffeetour.com/?page_id=42)
There are many different types of beans that can be grown and some need certain climates, for example altitude, soil, weather, rain etc. In this sense, coffee is a lot like wine: it not only depends on the climate, but there are different flavours, and each person likes a certain roast or another. We have seen coffee prices going up by a lot. Cultures that previously did not drink coffee namelyChinaandIndiahave had a rising demand.
Today, I took a 4h hike and walked through mountains. On the way there were many beautiful flowers, fruit trees and of course, fields of coffee! The people in this area are so nice: everyone is smiley and says hi to you it’s really nice.