We’re driving out of Panama’s second city, David (officially San José de David) to a small farm nestled in the rainforest near the Costa Rican border.
Our journey is only an hour so there’s no need to stop but then, we smell it. A small smoking shack on the side of the road smoking sausages. The smell is phenomenal. We pull over, mouths watering and feast. Simple. Unfussy. Unbelievably good.
We arrive at Finca Santa Teresa, our hosts for the week. The views from FST are breathtaking. The farm is adjacent to La Amistad National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Standing at the back door of the farmhouse looking out, I am surrounded by rainforest. Sunrises and sunsets are out of this fricking world and some of the best I’ve seen.
On my first day we cup fifty geisha rounds of coffee. Fifty. It’s an intense sensory experience, some of the coffees on the table are out of this world.
Coffees are roasted on a five barrel probat roaster - restored from the 1950s. It’s a fine machine beautifully restored & maintained. I'm left feeling nostalgic about the restoration of Betty, our own 1950s probat roaster.
We walk through the farm. Wet, thundering rain has forced the coffee plants into flower and the air is thick with the heady floral smells of coffee blossom. Natural and Honey Geishas drying on raised beds and microlot after microlot of experimentation.
The care and quality of the coffee is amazing. It's no wonder that this is the espresso of choice for Callum when competing in the UK Barista Championships.
Sipping on a rum old fashioned in Panama Old City, I reflect on the sheer mass of innovation across the farm. It is progressive as it is beautiful. Coffee waste recycled as fertilizer or reused as fuel and the on site school providing free education to the children of the farm’s workers.
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