Touring a Coffee Plantation in Panama

I’m not a coffee drinker. I think the last time I had coffee was about three years ago. It’s been so long I’m not really sure. But I know it was Starbucks. I only drink them. Why? Because with all the flavors, milk, and whip cream they add to my coffee concoction, it masks the coffee taste and makes it drinkable for me. There’s only been one time I enjoyed a cup of java. It was back in 2003 when I was Costa Rica. I was in Monteverde exploring the cloud forest. The organic, shade grown coffee I had there was like drinking chocolate and I couldn’t get enough of it. I bought a bag to take home. It was the only time I liked drinking coffee.

So when my friends wanted to tour a coffee plantation in Boquete, Panama, I was less than enthused. “Can’t we go hiking instead?” I asked. “No, we’re doing the coffee tour,” they replied. We had hiked the previous day and they wanted to do something different. I grumbled but reluctantly, I agreed. I wanted to spend time with my friends and maybe learning about coffee might be better than actually drinking it.

There are a lot of coffee plantation tours throughout this area of Panama. This region is famous for its coffee and produces most of what Panama exports. You couldn’t walk a block in Boquete without finding a coffee shop. I’m not a coffee drinker so I can’t say the coffee here is better than elsewhere in the world but I did (surprisingly) enjoy what I drank. Most plantation tours are 1/2 day tours and cost between $25-35 USD. They make for a good morning or afternoon tour. You can book them through any hostel or from the tour shops in the center of town.

  1. I totally agree with you about coffee. I used to work at Starbucks back in high school, and loved peppermint white mochas only because with the whipped cream and all the sugar, there’s not much of a caffeine taste at all (but still does the trick of waking you up). :)

  2. Hi Matt,

    I had the chance to pick coffee when I was a kid, but didn’t learn to drink it until 2003 —probably after you had your last cup! Now I can’t live without it. :) Good coffee shouldn’t be bitter, even though some people prefer it that way.

    Nice job in the video!

  3. I’m not a coffee fan either but I did a plantation tour in Boquete. I even drank a small cup (although I admit I put sugar in it…) and it wasn’t bad. But the tour was not always fun – don’t know if it was the same for you but I walked away with scratches and bites from pushing our way through the closely located coffee bean plants!

  4. Hey, I went on this same tour. It was entertaining and educational. I had no idea that the lightly roasted coffee beans held the caffeine more so than the dark roasted.

  5. That’s so funny – I was just at that same coffee farm a few days ago! I’ve done a slew of them and that one was unique. The cobbled together equipment, sun drying, simple, fresh. That last word is the key. What you get at Starbucks or anywhere else is weeks or months old by the time it gets to your cup. Which is why they love it when you mask it all with milk, sugar, whipped cream, flavor shots…

  6. My better half actually has some family in Panama and I can’t wait to go visit some day. I don’t drink coffee ever and yet the cup I had on an excursion in Cuba was memorable to say the least. There’s something to be said for freshness, quality, and local craft!

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