Specialty coffees drive tourism

Agritourism is one of the activities that has brought coffee plantations in Chiriquí Province to be recognized as some of the most visited sites in the district of Boquete. The farms' location at 1,600 to 1,700 meters above sea level favors the production of so-called special or gourmet coffees.

Caturra, Catuai, Pacamara, and Geisha are some of the coffee varieties cultivated.

Moíses Montesuma, head of Quality Control at Finca Lérida, said that they have opened the area's only boutique mountain hotel, where guests have the opportunity to walk among the coffee bushes to learn up close the process of planting and harvesting.

Finca Lérida grows the above coffee varieties on 50 hectares of land divided into seven lots. Its beans were awarded during the past The Best of Panama gourmet coffee auction organized by the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP), when the price reached $1,275 per quintal of honey processed coffee and $1,395 for natural.

The biggest purchasers of Panamanian coffee are Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Norway, and the United States. The sale price at the auction depends on the variety and the drying process.

Alicia Jimenéz, CEO of Foreign Trade Service of the Panama Ministry of Commerce and Industry, stated that the quality, aroma, and flavor of the coffee cultivated in the highlands demands very good prices internationally. In addition, it opens the doors for new niche markets such as agritourism, allowing tourists to learn first-hand the production process.

Source: www.laestrella.com.pa