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Panama's famous coffee making its way to Australia

Panama's famous coffee making its way to Australia

Somewhere around 1,200 metres above sea level near the misty, green highland town of Boquete in the north of Panama, Landreth Laws leads tourists on a guided walk through coffee plantations.

"Our coffee develops good flavours because it grows in the highlands," he said.

"When we grow coffee in the highlands we know that the temperature is low and the coffee plants have low activity and it helps them develop more flavours.

"Secondly, we grow coffee around the volcano, where the soil is rich."

Coffee culture is growing in Australia, as our discerning tastes and barista creativity becomes internationally renowned.

The small central American country is keen to secure a bigger wedge of that market, as it emerges as one of the world leaders in growing and producing high-quality coffee beans.

The cooler climate and lush scenery lend themselves to both coffee farmers and tourists, who come to visit Boquete from around the world.

For Mr Laws, who has a lifetime of knowledge about coffee production, the secret to the region's success is the personal way the coffee is picked and dried.

"The reason why we won the international coffee competition is because we prefer to dry everything by hand," he said.

"The people that know about coffee from Panama, they love it."

Mr Laws said their coffee, considered now to be amongst the best in the world, was fast becoming a source of pride for Panamanians.

"They consider it the most important coffee around the world when talking about quality — that's why our coffee is really expensive around the world," he said.

"We can tell that [the Australian market] is going to become extremely big.

"About three years ago we had three to four Australian customers and now we've got eight and so on. And every time we've had more.

"For Australians it is important — the coffee culture and barista culture — because Australians have shown the world they can be the best in the world in barista competitions."

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