Cafe Ruiz was founded in the late 1800’s by the Ruiz family and since then the company has remained a family business. It has now grown into one of the most popular and widely consumed coffee brands in Panama. The main tasting station in Boquete, Panama offers a fabulous 3 hour $30 plantation tour that I highly recommend. On the tour you can learn about the 13 steps it takes to bring a coffee bean off a plant and processed into the roasted beans you use everyday. Its pretty incredible! I seriously had NO idea how hard, how long, and how many people it took to make coffee!
If not picked, the coffee bean will drop from the plant and naturally develop into a seedling.
These seedlings then grow and grow. These are just over a year old!
After the beans are picked, the first step is to dry them. This is a multi-step process in itself, but initially the beans are laid out on large platforms and the sun’s rays soak up any excess moisture.
Later, the beans are dried again and racked and swept until they are ready for sorting.
So many coffee beans! The beans will go through a 13 step process before they are ready for sale. These beans still need to be sorted by shape, density, and color.
The coffee beans actually have three different shells. All of which must be taken off before the beans can be roasted and sold.
This is one of the holding rooms for the beans. This is my family and I on our tour 🙂
A lot of the sorting process is done by hand. Here, one of the workers is sorting the beans based on density. It certainly takes a lot of arm strength!
Geisha coffee is a special type of coffee that tastes a little bit like a mixture of tea and coffee. It is in high demand in many Asian countries and sells for about $90/pound. This bag above is worth $10,000. Its pretty incredible.
Then we went on to see how the beans are sorted by color and texture. I gave it a try and found it incredibly challenging to find beans that had even a little imperfection on them. They all looks so similar!! I don’t know how these women and men do it.
Alas, I had to try this Geisha coffee, so I ordered a cup for $9. It was alright…perhaps I just don’t have the knack for Geisha drinking, but I did really enjoy my iced latte! So I probably wont be buying any Geisha coffee in the future, but Panama’s Boquete region has certainly become my favorite region for growing coffee. They have set the bar pretty high! And cheers to that. ~B