KC’s Discover Coffee Tours brew business in international coffee tourism

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A coffee tasting setup for Panama varieties. // Courtesy of Wendy Eaton

How do you take your morning cup of coffee? With a splash of cream and honey to sweeten? A shot of espresso? Perhaps an iced latte is more your speed? Whatever suits your fancy, coffee is a familiar ritual in many people’s lives. 

The drink has caused a cultural reckoning that has spread to merchandise and graphics emblazoned with trite phrases like “but first, coffee” and “more espresso, less depresso” which run rampant across online spaces and department stores alike. 

Ray and Wendy Eaton // Courtesy of Wendy Eaton

Kansas City is home to an extensive collection of local coffee shops and roasters- yet the origin of the delicious bean juice is infrequently discussed. Ray and Wendy Eaton hope to change this.

Hailing from Kansas City, the couple decided to sell their printing business and move to Panama in 2015 in favor of a slower pace of living. Greeted by the beautiful mountain scenery and laidback attitude of locals, they instantly found a place of belonging.

There is where they discovered their love for the craft, locally-sourced coffee. In their entrepreneurial spirit, they decided to share Panama’s beauty through the creation of their business, Discover Coffee Tours

Coffee tourism is a booming trend, especially popular among millennials, that seeks to explore the history, tradition, and production of coffee in its natural environment. Instances of coffee tourism have become more frequent as the industry continues to expand to countries in the famous “coffee belt” of the world. Coffee connoisseurs have begun to explore the different regions with a ferocity that can only be tamed through caffeination. 

Beans grow inside of a coffee cherry before extraction // Courtesy of Wendy Eaton

Panama’s rural coffee farms produce a small, but influential portion of the world’s coffee supply. Similar to wine sommeliers who appreciate different growing regions, coffee lovers can experience the special offerings of Panama origin. The Gesha variety is a delicacy among consumers, reaching exorbitant prices due to its unique and challenging growing conditions.

The Eaton’s recently launched Discover Coffee Tours, an experience-based business that offers a week-long excursion to small farms and co-ops in the mountains of Western Panama. During the tour, travelers visit five farms across Panama where they will learn the intricacies of coffee cultivation and production. Additionally, there will be specialty cupping experiences of the region’s best coffee. 

The tour will include a stop at Finca Dos Jefes, a small farm located in the mountain village of Boquete. The abandoned farm was revitalized in 2003 and now produces seven varieties of Arabica coffee. The farm bases its schedule on the Lunar Calendar and operates under the retail name Cafes de la Luna.

The Eaton’s believe that coffee is more than just a drink- it’s a source of livelihood and connection. 

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Courtesy of Wendy Eaton

Connecting to the community is an important part of the Eaton’s life in Panama. They plan for their tours to support a number of local farms like Finca Dos Jefes, while also donating a portion of profits to Global Food Providers, which provides food to underserved communities.

The Eaton’s hope to share the love of coffee and their community, one cup at a time. The inaugural tour is anticipated for early 2023.

More information and pricing for the tours can be found on the company’s Instagram, Facebook, or by visiting their website.

Categories: Food & Drink