The lush fields covering the mountainsides of Panama’s Chiriquí Highlands in Boquete are home to various forms of wildlife, including the sought-after resplendent quetzal, making nature travel through the countryside memorable for any wildlife or birding enthusiast. But they also produce one of the country's largest exports, a commodity that no traveler should pass by: coffee.

The town of Boquete lies in the just beyond Baru, Panama's only volcano. Coffee plantations spread for miles on the hillsides of this charming town. Quality coffee is widely available here, in cafés and at coffee factories.

Finca Lérida Estate Coffee is one such place. Established in 1922 by Tollef B. Mönniche and purchased by Alfred Collins in 1957, it is one of Boquete's oldest and most traditional coffee estates. The award-winning company is still operated by members of the Collins family.

In Panama, coffee beans are extracted from the "cherry" of the coffee plant, which are grown during the hot harvesting months of December to May. At Finca Lérida, the coffee then undergoes a unique wet process in a plant designed and constructed by original founder Mönniche. The beans are then sun-dried, stored and aged in wooden silos until it is ready to be used.

As part of a Panama expedition with International Expeditions, guests enjoy an in-depth look at Finca Lérida’s coffee plantation and their process for working with the beans during a tour hosted by one of Panama’s only certified “cuppers.”

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