Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cool Beans

I love coffee. And since Panama is a pretty big coffee producer, I decided I wanted to see it first hand.   I booked a tour with the people who produce Cafes de la Luna.
One of the most casual tours. Very intimate. Only 5 of us and a very personable and knowledgable tour guide--a self proclaimed coffee geek. Oh, and did I mention, the farm owner picked us up for the tour at the AirBnB home where we were staying.
First off we learned about the economics and ethics of coffee and how fair trafe doesn't even scratch the surface of equity issue.
Direct trade is the new fair trade, by the way. Direct trade cuts out the middlemen.
I was immeddiately impressed that the farm owner provides clean and nice housing for coffee pickers. And works hard to give them minimum wage.  That's the problem right now for the small coffee farmer who would lose money if they paid minimum wage to coffee pickers. And the small farms don't have the resources usually to roast their own, but only sell the harvested beans. For much less.
At Finca Dos Jefes, the owner has opted to go organic and biodynamic. He grows arabica coffee. He also uses the dry method of processing the beans.  The coffee cherries are spread out and dried in the sun. A process that takes at least a month or more.
One interesting discovery--that throughout the small farm, other kinds of trees are planted that help manage the nitrogen in the soil, and enhance pollination.  
A great part of the tour was at the end, where I got to roast the beans. This is a process that takes 15 minuters or so. And involves monitoring temperature and sampling the beans every few minutes to check on their progress.
But the best part of course--the tasting. Ahh. What I was waiting for.
But the most interesting discovery is that they are using the dried coffee casing around the beans to create a new drink--coffee tea.  Only 20 % of the caffeine of coffee but a lovely taste and new possibilities for me to explore. It was an eye opening experience, in more ways than one.

1 comment:

  1. i am sure that this must have been an amazing experience. to have seen the whole process yourself is really very amazing. also, thank you for updating it all and sharing with us