A combination of living life and bad internet has set us behind on our blog posts. How could we ever have left Boquete without touching upon two of our favorite things there, the Dos Jefes Coffee Tour and Raquel’s Ark.
Raquel Frame is an interesting animal savior who moved to Vulcan, Panama about 12 years ago and has started a rescue shelter for animals needing a place to stay before either going back to the wild or moving to a more permanent home. Raquel rescued two baby sloths about 8 years ago, sisters Jessie
She has nurtured and house trained these two beautiful and loving creatures and gives anyone
who visits the opportunity to get up close and personal with them. They are loving animals (remember these two are domesticated, not wild) and holding them is a joy.
We went first as visitors then back twice more with friends who were visiting so they could also experience this wonderful opportunity. Raquel also has a margay cat,
a few dogs and cats, an owl
and you never know what else might be there when you visit. It’s a wonderful day trip from Boquete.
On one of our trips we included a tour of Finca Dracula
which is a beautiful orchid farm
with over a thousand varieties of orchids growing.
The bilingual tour guides are very knowledgeable
and we learned a lot about the many varieties of orchids on the tour.
While we were in Boquete, we wanted to tour a coffee finca. After asking around, the tour that everyone said was the best was at Café Luna, also known as Finca Dos Jefes or Two Bosses.
We called Rich and he picked us up from Valle Escondido at 9:30 and after picking up another couple we were off to Finca Dos Jefes. When we arrived, we all sat around a table on the patio
and Rich told us that he and his partner had owned the finca since 2003. He explained the complex system in place for rating coffee, how hard it was to make money in the coffee business. He pays his workers a fair wage and provides them with better housing than he is required to.
Then it was time to walk the coffee fields. All the coffee grown in the area is arabica coffee. As we walked he showed us which beans were ready to be picked
and how the beans are dried in the fields under the sun.
They have to be wrapped up if it rains and unwrapped when the rain stops. He took us into a dark, dusty concrete room, approximately 12 foot by 12 foot square.
This is the room where 4 or more workers would stay on a normal coffee finca during the harvest. They would cook over a open fire with no ventilation for the smoke.
We went back to the patio and Rich let us inhale the scent of a light roast and a dark roast.
He explained the relationship between time and temperature when roasting coffee and how darker doesn’t always mean more caffeine. Rich then brewed a light and a dark roast coffee for us so we could taste the difference. Then it was time for us to roast our own coffee beans. As a group, we chose Norma to be our coffee roaster.
The roaster was brought up to temperature
and the beans were loaded in.
We watched as the temperature was brought up again and then stabilized as the beans were roasted. When we heard the beans start to pop, the roaster was opened
and our roasted beans were dumped out of the roaster. Our beans were bagged
and we said our goodbyes and Rich drove us back to our pickup points, each of us with a bag of our freshly roasted coffee beans. After this coffee tour, we have a whole new appreciation for our morning cup of joe.