COFFEE ESTATE TOUR
Savoring my coffee and bread, from my deck, I read-up on my Panama notes, which include an e-mail from my sister, who visited Boquete last year with her family. She mentioned that the Quetzal Trail is beautiful…which means…my six-year-old nephew survived it…and I backed down. Alice!
I join (Stupid) Jack at his villa: time to tally the results of our bets. Last night, prior to returning to the Panamonte Inn for dinner, we subtly “rearranged” his furnishings: moved the soap dispenser to the opposite side of the sink, rotated the coasters 90 degrees, turned-around some hangers, returned his hat to his luggage, etc. Then we wagered on whether or not the items would be restored to their original positions during our absence.
Turns out, somebody had “righted” the objects (but not all of them) while we were out. (Stupid) Jack now owes me a bottle of Larry’s coffee liqueur.
We arrive at 8:32 for our 8:30 coffee estate tour: Larry glances at his watch disapprovingly. He leads us around the coffee estate for the next 45 minutes: he is an erudite travel guide and the tour is both informative and enjoyable. I ask him about Geisha, which is grown just next door, because 1) I’m obsessed with Geisha and 2) I want to see if I can rankle him. But he answers with aplomb, conceding that Geisha beans taste “unique”, and explaining that each year, Master Testers gather to blind-taste coffees, and the official, distinguished panel had voted Geisha as the “best” coffee, hence the hefty price tag.
We follow Larry into the kitchen and he demonstrates coffee roasting for us. If there’s one take-away I’ll take-away from my coffee estate tour today, it’s the importance of drinking coffee brewed from freshly-roasted beans. As (Stupid) Jack and June settle his laundry bill, and Larry tends to his beans, I mosey over to the kitchen counter. Surveillance devices — one for each of the three cabins — sit on the counter, antennae erect, green lights blinking. These people are nuts.
Our driver Daniel Higgins (we refer to him as “Higgins” as it better befits a chauffeur) arrives, we bid goodbye to June and Larry (no hugs), and begin our three-hour ride across the mountains to the town of Almirante, on Panama’s Caribbean side.
Goodbye Alice!, so long Coffee Estate Inn. (Stupid) Jack pulls-out the receipt for his laundry and shares it with me.
It reads: Laundry loads: 1 medium dark, 1 small white, 1 pants with paint stain: paint removal, wash, dry, fold, iron. 5% tax on food and services / 5% ITMBS.
Of course it does.