Coffee arrived in Panama in the 19th century with European immigrants. Coffee in Panama is produced mainly by small farmers from two major indigenous groups, the Bugle and Ngobe.
Panama is a relatively small player in terms of world coffee production, but produces some of the most exquisite coffees.
Panama is often associated with the famous Geisha variety. Francisico Seracín Sr - also known as Don Pachi or the 'Godfather of Geisha' - brought the first Geisha seeds to Panama some 30 years ago. Since then, he has done incredible pioneering work. This is especially due to the fact that there was increased political instability in the country and access to international purchase markets was difficult. This made the spread of geisha coffee almost impossible. In addition, difficult growing conditions and low crop yields made life difficult for Don Pachi. It was only thanks to his passion that he managed to make Geisha coffee known on the international market.
The variety then achieved real fame in 2004 in Panama at Hacienda La Esmeralda, a farm in Boquete. After the farm's owners noticed special characteristics of certain coffee plants during a cupping, they decided to enter it in the "Taste of Panama" coffee competition. Not only did they take first place, but they also achieved record-breaking prices at auctions. This was one of many prizes in a row. Although the coffee actually comes from the town of Gesha in western Ethiopia, it is closely associated with Panama because of this competition.
The Volcan-Candela region is known as Panama's breadbasket, as most of the food consumed in the country comes from this region and nearby Cerro Punta. Baru is a dormant volcano located between the Boquete and Volcan-Candela areas. With an altitude of 3,474 meters above sea level, Baru is the highest point in Panama.
The fertile conditions in the areas surrounding the Baru volcano, the regular rainfall and the altitude provide ideal conditions for coffee production. The rich nutrients of the volcanic soil, high humidity and cloud cover nourish the coffee plants and produce high-quality beans that develop a rich, intense aroma.