Be the first to like this
Coffee from Panama
If you are thinking of healthy organic coffee think of coffee from Panama. Panama is the country on the isthmus that connects Central and South America. It has two sea coasts, a central mountain chain, and highlands covered with fertile volcanic soil. Coffee from Panama comes from the Chiriquí Highlands. Extending down from the foot of the extinct 11,000 foot volcano, Volcan Baru, the lands around the villages of Volcan and Boquete are forested, often somewhat cloudy, and rich in nutrients.
Thus much of the organic coffee from Panama is also shade grown and grown under overcast skies much like organic Kona coffee. Panama is a small country and only coffee from Panama is almost entirely grown in the province of Chiriquí. So, Panama does not rank with its next door neighbor, Colombia, which is the third leading producer in the world, or Mexico (#5), Guatemala (#8), Honduras (#9), or Peru (#10). However, premium coffee from Panama can sell at auction for a hundred dollars for a one pound bag, attesting to the quality of the product.
Coffee from Panama, like coffee throughout the world, is either Arabica or Robusta. The coffee growers in the highlands around Boquete and Volcan, Panama tend towards sustainable agriculture and much of the coffee is shade grown organic coffee. Much of this commitment to sustainable growing practices is simple practicality. When a grower plants coffee on slopes of thirty degrees or more he is wise not to remove pre-existing trees and shrubs. Thus much of the coffee from Panama is naturally grown in a diverse habitat protecting soil, flora, and fauna.
Panama mountain grown organic coffee has been around for about a century.
The Boquete region was virtually uninhabited until Americans crossing Panama on their way to the California gold fields passed through a gap (Boquete in Spanish) in the Cordillera Central. Around 1900 immigrants moved into the region, many of them coffee growers. The descendants of many of these original families still grow high quality coffee in the region and many have gone the extra step to produce certified organic coffee. This is a short step for many as they were already practicing sustainable horticulture and only needed an agency like Bio Latina to certify their growing, harvesting, and processing practices.
A substantial number of coffee growers have Bio Latina organic coffee certification. This agency certifies for the USDA, the Japanese Agricultural Ministry, and for the European Union, among others. Thus organic coffee from Panama is likely to be certified organic coffee able to bear appropriate labeling in the major coffee markets of the world. Coffee from Panama is not always easy to find in the US, EU, or Japan, however. Many growers are small and, despite following appropriate growing practices, have not found a ready market outside of the country.