I was surfing the net last week and discovered the Bisbee Coffee Company. I know Bisbee Arizona, it is a small town that was at one time the center of copper mining activities in Cochise County Arizona. In a past life I did some contract work in Bisbee for the County helping to retrain mine workers for new careers. It was surprising to find a Coffee Roaster and distributor in Bisbee, a good thing for us coffee growers in Boquete.
One of the things that I discovered on their web site was a video shot on a Ruiz coffee tour. In that video the guide explained the impending death of the coffee industry in Boquete. The guide explained that land here now sells for $350,000 a hectare and is unaffordable for coffee growing. I am not aware of any land, except maybe in Bajo Boquete, that is selling for $35 a meter, but the message is still worth discussion. Land even at $100,000 a hectare, $10 a meter is too expensive to use for coffee as a profitable business. As Boquete grows, more land and more coffee farms are being sold for projects like Valle Escondido, a former coffee farm.
Just as the Apricot orchards of Los Altos California and the Orange orchards of Phoenix Arizona vanished for housing, many of the coffee farms of Boquete are, and will fall to the growth of concrete and block. There is one saving grace, a small one for Boquete. We have world class coffee and we have crazy expats here who are willing to grow it at a loss.
Coffee is great ground cover, for many of us who live on hillsides, Coffee holds the hills in place. It is a ground cover that requires, feeding, fungicides, care and picking but all the negatives and costs are balanced by selling some of the crop and drinking the rest. I never seem to grow enough coffee to cover the fertilizer cost, but I do enjoy the gifting of coffee to guests and the drinking of a cup or three each morning. I know as a documented fact my own coffee costs me more to produce than it would cost to buy it at Ruiz or Palo Alto, I don’t care, and I am not alone.
There are many small growers in Boquete, some have figured out how to make a business selling coffee and I have helped to develop a small online business selling coffee for some of them. The way we can maintain coffee as a business in Boquete is to help the coffee drinker realize we have the best they can buy. In addition buying our coffee helps feed the many indigenous people who live here and earn their daily bread picking coffee.
If you live here, tip a cup to the many who toil so you can enjoy a Boquete specialty coffee and if you are just surfing the web, click on this link and buy a few pounds shipped direct from Boquete to you. LINK