Panamanian coffee is among the most renowned in the world for its quality, in particular that of the Geisha variety, especially that grown in the area of the Barù Volcano National Park in the western part of the country .
History of coffee production in Panama
The history of coffee in Panama is much shorter than that of neighboring nations and those of South America, probably coffee arrived there (always by European colonizers of course) only at the beginning of the 19th century, it was also not a success story for a long time. The variety of Coffea arabica to which the current success of Panama coffee is linked is indeed very recent, the Geisha takes its name from an Ethiopian village in whose vicinity it was only discovered by a group of English botanists in 1931. The arrival of the Geisha in South America dates back to 1951 and even the introduction in Panama only to 1963. The region of the city of Boquete, surrounded by the Barù Volcano National Park is the most renowned for the quality of its coffees, the reasons are a combination of factors present in other Central American countries: it is a mountain area but with a mild climate considering the height given the proximity to the equator, the volcanic soil is fertile because it is rich in nutrients, these favorable environmental conditions are added with extreme care in the manufacturing process carried out by hand. Three coffee districts have been identified in Panama: Boquete, Volcan-Candela and Renacimiento, in reality these are regions very close to each other, considering that all of Panama is 75,000 sq km, i.e. about a quarter of Italy, but the three coffee districts are all in the province of Chiriquí in the southwestern part of the country on the border with Costa Rica and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The whole province with its 6400 sq km is as big as the province of Perugia and includes a total of 14 districts, not just the three mentioned above. What distinguishes the three coffee production areas are the altitudes at which the coffee is grown, in the district of Boquete we find the greatest variety of altitudes from 400 to 1900m and therefore we find more different microclimates, in the volcano district it ranges from 1200 to 1600m and from here come the most popular coffees, Renacimiento is a small district with a small production between 1100 and 1500m.
The quality of Panamanian coffee
Recently some particular batches of Panamanian Geisha coffee achieved record prices in sector auctions making Panamanian coffee the most expensive in the world. In Panama, in addition to the famous Geisha variety, other varieties of Arabica are also grown: Typica (one of the two original Arabica varieties together with Bourbon), Bourbon, Caturra (a natural variety of Bourbon discovered in Brazil), Catuai (variety selected in Brazil by crossing the Caturra and Mundo Novo, the latter in turn the result of a natural cross between Bourbon and Typica) and San Ramon (a variety related to Typica born in Costa Rica). In general, Panamanian coffees have a sweet, light and complex taste, full of floral and citrus aromas and notes, so much so that coffee enthusiasts consider the best Panamanian coffees perfect to be enjoyed without sugar.