Boquete--Ruiz Coffee Company Tour and Bird Walk

Carlos was our guide for the tour; here are young coffee plants.

Carlos, 26, of indigenous origin, said he had worked for the company since he was 10.

The picking season is from October to March. Here are the new flowers on the coffee plant.

Coffee beans drying in the sun. This takes about 5 days. Oven drying takes about one day.

The Ruiz Coffee processing plant.

One of these bins holds about 300 lbs. Which one person can pick a day.

A person gets about $15 for this. Many quit for the day when this is reached.

The beans are washed and the inferior floaters separated and sent to Folgers or Maxwell House. The outer hull is removed.

The bean must be fermented about 24 hrs and washed to get rid of the sugars.

More beans sun drying.

Outside of the fermentation and washing area.

Here is where the beans are washed after fermentation.

After predrying the beans are stored to rest for about four months.

These shells on the bean must be removed.

Before roasting the beans must be sorted by size, shape, density and color.

Here's where the beans are sorted.

And put into sacks.

Sorted by density, size and shape.

The beans must be dried; wood cut from trees on the farm and the bean shells are used for fuel.

Bean shells used for fuel; a blower flows the shells into the dryer.

What looks like a ponsettia growing on the plant grounds.

Here's where the coffee sacks are printed.

Senor Ruiz, the 84 year old owner of the company who still works.

The numbers on the sacks (e.g. 29-17-45) show the country (29), the company Ruiz (17) and the lot number (45).

Here is the roasting plant in Boquete.

Everybody must wear paper gowns and caps.

Different processed coffees..increasing roast times left to right.

48 beans/ cup equals regular strength; 200 beans/cup is strong.

This is the original roaster which handled about two lbs at a time.

An improved version which handled 20 lbs.

The roasters used today handle two hundred lbs.

The beans are stirred.

Having a coffee break on the bird trip. This stream side had an incredible number of birds.

The house on the right was never finished. When offered millions for this land the owner refused.

This area and the river is in the valley just north of Boquete.

At another area rich in birds.

We passed these children's residence by a swift stream.

Her knowledge of birds was truly amazing.

A stream with luxuriant vegetation.

A truly beautiful valley filled with the calls of birds.

The end of a wonderful day.