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 theirs. Why? Because with all the flavors, milk, and whipped 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 in Costa Rica, exploring the cloud forest in Monteverde. 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.
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. It’s 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 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 half-day tours and cost $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.