A Travellerspoint blog

August 2015

Lost and Found in Panama...With a Strong Shot of Caffeine

Where we stayed in a hostel in the middle of nowhere, froze, drank the best coffee in the world and then lost a little money


View Central & South America on chellebelle's travel map.

We left our hideaway in Bocas Del Toro in a torrential downpour and to make matters worse our boat had no canopy. Needless to say when we arrived at the dock 30minutes later we were saturated. I have not been that drenched for our whole trip! We jumped on a bus for the and for the next three hours and sadly due to it feeling like a freezer, I shivered the whole way to our next destination. We were off to Lost and Found, basically the best jungle hostel in Panama that is located in the middle of nowhere.

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We were dropped off on the side of the road next to a small café from there we had a 30 minute walk to our home for the next few nights…After stopping at the café for sustenance we started the hike up the track. The track reminded us of bush walks at home and was in surprisingly better condition than we expected. We arrived and it was FREEZING!..It felt like I was on the bus all over again due to the icy galls. We made our way into a 24 person dorm...Yep they had double beds and it was three storeys high. There was no way I was going to stay on the top bunk it was crazy high! After acclimatising to the bomb site of the dorm room (there were clothes everywhere) we cleared room for our bags and headed up for a hot shower…I can’t believe how good the showers were. I was in heaven! We hadn’t had a hot shower for a few days and due to the icy cold it was luxurious! After grabbing a poncho we chilled out and meet other travellers. The view towards the volcano and the towns of David and Boquete were stunning! We opted to make our dinner of pasta (It was day 4 of eating pasta and tomato sauce) and then heading to bed early to keep ourselves warm.

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We booked to go on the hostel’s famous coffee tour the next day with a crazy local organic farmer. It ended up being a great decision and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Our time started jumping in a guide’s car then walking down a dirt road. I ended up walking with a Dutch family and we saw numerous things on the way…a snake with it’s prey in it’s mouth upright and darting away, a crazy looking beetle and the gorgeous blue butterflies. We got to the farm and had our first course, fruit from the farm…pineapple and two different types of orange, and an unusual rum cake fruit. After this we learnt a bit about the history of coffee, how apparently it was found by goats going crazy and then roasted as it was called rubbish from monks and thrown on the fire…they made quite the story. We also learnt why Don Cune is known as the loco farmer due to his organic methods. He likes to consider himself the Thomas Edison of farming full of new ideas. We learnt that the more you roast a bean the less caffeine it has and that green beans are harder but have more caffeine. Honey fruit coffee is when they are dried with the fruit on and not fermented.

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The Geisha coffee is considered the world’s best coffee (as it gets the most expensive price at the markets). It was brought to Boquete from Ethiopia from an American and thrives in the district. Now a lot of people grow this coffee as it gains a premier price from them. We discussed why Don went organic. It began when the plants started to get resistant to the pesticides and more needed to be used. Don explained that an over use of pesticides caused the resistance. They used a yellow test to figure out which chemicals would kill the bugs. The worse part is that a lot of farmers know that the pesticides are bad for the waterways and so won’t drop the rest of the chemicals in the rivers and streams yet they rinse the container and drink out of it like there is no residue in the container!
Don explained how he started to realise that meadows thrived and they had plenty of bugs in it. He tries to get his farm to mimic a meadow…everything in harmony.

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He uses kerosene lamps with water to trap bugs to see what is on his farm and fruit fly traps made from his wines leftover vinegar. He also uses diluted peppers to stop the bugs attacking the plants. We went off to explore the farm. Seeing the numerous plants and learning their medicinal properties. We also got to see the numerous different types of coffee plants that Don has. Don explained to can tell the Geisha as the plant forks out compared to the others.

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We were off to make a sugar cane drink next…the old fashioned way. Don got out the crusher and we used force to crush all of the delicious juice out of the cane. We also had some with the witches revenge chilli. It was hot and the sweet lime drink was amazing with it.
After our sugar cane adventure we were cooked a delicious lunch of beef with salad and plantains. We also got to try Don’s interesting wine flavours of corn and cashew flower.

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After lunch we were on to the big process. Making coffee. The first process is fermenting the beans. This happens for a couple of weeks. After this the beans are dried. The next step is to hull the beans and remove the skins. The last step is the roasting. We did this the old fashioned way in something that looked exactly like a popcorn maker! We ate the hot beans with honey from the mountains and salt honey. It was exquisite! We lastly tried Geisha coffee the best in the world. To be honest I am no coffee connoisseur but it seemed to be smooth, really intense and extremely drinkable. As we left I gave Don a huge hug for a great day. I learnt on the way home that all of Don’s coffee is in fact brought by the hostel and so it doesn’t have to go to the market to try and get a great price for it.

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The next day we opted to take the overnight bus. Before we began the journey we were already exhausted. Sadly due to a lack of foresight we had some money stolen that day. To be honest it is completely my fault. I left my handbag unlocked in our room out of my sight for a couple of hours while we ate breakfast.

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Our overnight bus was destined to Panama City, our final stop in Central America. We were pretty excited for the next part of our journey and the R&R we had planned in Panama City. The bus was massive and surprisingly was not a chiller. They had it cool but not freezing to the point we didn’t even need a jersey! (this is unheard of!). We slept the whole way and arrived in Panama City 5am the next day.

Posted by chellebelle 20:11 Archived in Panama Tagged and jungle it lost coffee money over found stolen organic Comments (0)

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