Panamanian coffee tops the list of the best coffees in the world. A few years back Hacienda Esmeralda´s prized Geisha Coffee sold for $155.00 a pound. Coffee has also put Panama on the map. Panama produces approximately 240 thousand quintals of coffee a year and 80% of that is produced in Boquete, Chiriqui. Out of the approximately 180 thousand quintals of coffee produced in Chiriqui 50 thousand are specialty or fine coffee and destined for export. In the last five years Panama´s specialty coffee has won international quality awards and is distinguished in tastings where it receives more than 80 points out of 100 based on its sweetness and aroma, among other characteristics. The cost of producing this coffee is 30% greater than the cost of commercial coffee. The most prized varieties of specialty coffee are catuai, caturra and geisha.
The impact of the coffee growing industry has been so great in the region of Boquete that they are soon to build a coffee center to be called The Coffee Palace. The building of the Coffee Palace shall be two stories an shall be built at a cost of around $850,000. The funding for this initiative shall be provided by the private sector (The High Quality Association of Boquete) as well as government funding through the Ministry for Agricultural Development.
The main objective of the center is to provide a headquarters where coffee buyers and producers can meet and be informed about the developments of coffee production in Panama. It also seeks to improve the quality of the bean, and educate coffee growers about new techniques in their field. The first laboratory for the certification of the profiles of origin of Panamanian coffee will be housed in this building as well as certified tasting laboratories, barista training spaces, and another laboratory for the development of coffee based desserts and drinks.
The center will also cater to tourists through displays explaining the coffee production cycle and a section on the biodiversity of the coffee growing areas.
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