Panamanian coffee is among one of the best in the world. Let us show you a few options to get to know and enjoy it.
Perhaps Panama is not most known for its coffee, however this situation is about to change at a dizzying speed. Just look at the latest edition of the prestigious Best of Panama contest, an event in which the quality of the best national coffee harvests is judged. It is organized by the Special Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP, for its acronym in English) and this year, 2019, it has reached its XXIII edition. The contest has represented an extraordinary opportunity for local coffee producers to promote the quality of their crops since 1996. The judges of the contest have great professional rigors and maintain high expectations and demands. This year they were brought in from countries such as China, USA, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Bulgaria and Japan. In this year’s event, the scores achieved were extraordinary, reaching the highest score achieved in coffee competitions around the world.
The History of our coffee
And even though Panamanian coffee is reaching its best moment, attracting the looks and palates of experts and amateurs, it is a crop that entered the country relatively late. In what is a short, but interesting story, coffee arrived for the first time to Panama in 1742, and it did on board a ship that came from some of the islands colonized by France in the Caribbean. Perhaps its origin was Haiti, which at that time was a recognized producer. The ship arrived at Portobelo, and among its varied cargo, a single coffee barrel. Several years passed since then and it was only in 1780 when the first attempt to plant coffee in Panamanian territory was done.
Portobelo was tested first, but they soon noticed that the soil was not a good option for growing coffee. In order for new attempts to come to fruition they had to wait until the second half of the nineteenth century. On this occasion, new geographical areas of Panama were chosen. At first, coffee competed with chocolate, which was the most popular drink at that time. Then it was coffee’s turn to face tea drinks, a very popular option in Europe. A long time passed and currently Panamanian coffee, especially from the highlands of Chiriqui, maintains a very high quality level; reflected in the production of some of the most sought after high altitude coffee in the world. It also holds the world record price for a pound of geisha coffee, from Boquete.
Coffee tasting in Casco Viejo
If you want to taste the best Panamanian coffee, you don’t need to travel all the way to the Chiriqui highlands. Right here, in our beloved Casco Viejo, very close to Las Clementinas, you will find two places that are proud to serve the most flavorful and aromatic coffee of the fertile Panamanian highlands.
The first place is Casa Sucre Coffee House. It is a cozy cafe located on the ground floor of a house built in 1873. The atmosphere is placid, transporting you back to roaring 20’s from the past century. We recommend you order the Geisha coffee. In addition to its extraordinary flavor, you will have a meticulous explanation of its cultivation and harvest by the cafe’s staff.
Source: Casa Sucre
Another place here in Casco, also very highly recommended, is Café Unido. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon savoring Panamanian coffee of the highest quality. At Café Unido, they buy the best lots of Geisha from different farms. And they offer another incentive: a percentage of the sale of coffee is aimed at social and environmental projects in coffee-growing areas of Panama, with the essential mission of eliminating the participation of children in coffee-making work, while offering opportunities for development.
Source: Café Unido
So now you know! Next time you visit us, you simply must try highland Panamanian coffee. Now you know where to go. The best coffee in Panama waits for you at Casco.
Written by Alberto Gualde / Published by Paola Montilla.
She’s been a part of Las Clementinas since the restoration and is just so passionate about every nook and cranny of the property that you would think she built it with her bare hands. Having said that, it just makes sense that Paola will treat you as if you were staying at her own house. Whatever you need she will make it happen!