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Panama: A Hidden Gem for Coffee Lovers

Panama may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of coffee, but this Central American nation is becoming an unexpected rising star in the coffee world. Coffee production in Panama dates back over 100 years, but more recently the country has invested in revitalizing its coffee sector and improving quality. These efforts are paying off, with Panamanian coffees earning increased recognition for their complex flavors and high quality.

While its neighbor Costa Rica earns much of the spotlight when it comes to Central American coffees, Panama is rapidly developing a reputation for its distinctive and delicious coffee. The volcanic soil and high altitudes of Panama's coffee-growing regions provide ideal conditions for cultivation. Add to that innovative processing methods and a new generation of talented coffee producers, and you have a recipe for some incredibly tasty brews.

Panama produces the bulk of its coffee around the town of Boquete in the Chiriqui Highlands. This remote region features rich volcanic soil, high elevation, and cool breezes flowing down from the surrounding cloud forests. The Arabica coffee cultivated here develops deep, complex flavors with notes of cocoa, citrus, and caramel. Specialty growers in Boquete are leveraging these ideal natural conditions along with their own ingenuity to produce world-class coffees.

Beyond Boquete, other noteworthy coffee regions in Panama include Volcan Baru and Renacimiento. Volcan Baru is acclaimed for its bright, fruity coffees cultivated on the slopes of the active Baru volcano. Meanwhile, Renacimiento in western Panama produces smooth, well-balanced coffees. This diversity of microclimates and regions allows for a wide range of distinctive Panamanian coffees.

From these remote highland areas, Panamanian coffee is finding its way into the hands of specialized roasters and coffee shops around the world. In recent years, Panama has dramatically increased its exports of high-end specialty coffee to meet rising international demand. The hard work of Panama's coffee growers is being recognized through awards and acclaim at prestigious events like the Best of Panama coffee competition.

For coffee lovers visiting Panama, it is easy to find an excellent cup of local coffee. The capital of Panama City boasts several multi-award winning cafes and coffee shops to explore. Or head straight to the volcanic slopes around Boquete to tour coffee farms and experience expertly prepared Panamanian coffee culture first-hand. From coffee tasting classes to horseback rides through coffee plantations, Boquete offers many ways to dive into Panama's impressive coffees.

Panama's coffee scene has rapidly advanced in quality and reputation over a short period of time. As specialty coffee connoisseurs continue to discover the layers of flavors locked inside these beans from a less-expected origin, Panama will certainly be a coffee producer to watch. The country's investments in revitalizing its coffee sector are paying off, bringing a new generation of delicious Panamanian coffee to light.

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