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I need Panamanian Coffee in Toronto!

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Hi,

I need somewhere (anywhere!) to find Panamanian coffee in Toronto - I need the beans, ground or unground, for a friend. I've tried calling about a dozen gourmet shops, to no avail. I'm stumped - is it really that hard to come by??!!

Thanks!

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  1. Have you tried Moonbean? They usually have a fairly wide selection. I didn't see Panamanian coffee on their website, but they may have some in store.

    -----
    Moonbean Coffee Company
    30 St Andrews St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

    1. I *THINK* that it is available at the coffee shop in basement of the SLM....at the very least they sell beans based on country of origin, and I while I admit I've never explicitly noticed Panama (very likely as I've never looked for it), they have just about every other coffee producing country represented (including Yemen, if I recall).

      1. Did you try Manic Coffee. A while back they were boasting of having some Panamanian coffee in the shop.

        426 College Street - Don't know phone number.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nyleve

          (416) 966-3888
          http://www.maniccoffee.com/

          -----
          Manic
          426 College St, Toronto, ON M5T1T3, CA

        2. Now I'm wildly curious! Forgive my coffee ignorance (I don't drink it)... what is particularly special about Panamanian coffee that makes it worth seeking out?

          1. I don't know where to find it in Toronto. I thought perhaps Green Beanery, but they don't list it. You could try calling Merchants of Green Coffee, whose website isn't helpful.

            The only source I'm sure of is Sweet Maria's ( www.sweetmarias.com ), but they don't sell any roasted beans. FWIW, I ordered beans from them on Dec 6 and my package arrived, by USPS/Canada Post, on Dec 11.

            I read the detailed cupping reviews on the Sweet Maria's website and I didn't note anything especially unusual, or fabulous, about the Panamanian beans they have. I'm curious, like vorpal: why Panama specifically?

            4 Replies
            1. re: embee

              Don't know about the OP's particular needs, but we explored coffee in Panama a few years ago. We toured a large coffee plantation and processing plant, and tasted several different coffees from various farms. Personally, none of it really appealed to me on its own. Even with beans from the most highly rated plantations - Berlina, for one - the brew tasted, to me, thin and acidic. Darker roasts were slightly better, but I wasn't blown away by any of it. Of course, I am not judging fairly - my coffee experiences were random. It depends on preparation, roasting and coffee so any one of those factors could have gone awry at any time. I wasn't specifically on a coffee mission.

              What I do know is that Panama doesn't export as much coffee as the other coffee-growers in Central America. Most of their product is consumed in Panama itself, and much of the day-to-day coffee you'll find in stores is of ordinary quality.

              1. re: Nyleve

                I prefer coffee from high grown slopes, and Panama is too close to sea level. But if you come from there, perhaps nothing else will do.

              2. re: embee

                Embee, that is great service from Sweet Maria, and they are known for it. I wouldn't mind knowing what shipping and border charges were. I have just ordered 25 lb from greenbeanery and the 4 day shipping (to Pickering) is $15. The effective cost per lb is $6. for Yirgacheffe, Monsoon, and Sumatra.

                1. re: jayt90

                  Twelve pounds total. I got a couple of pounds each of a Guatemala, an El Salvador, an Ethiopia, a Yemen Mokha, a Sumatra, and an African/Mid East/Asian proprietary blend. Shipping was $26.50 flat rate for up to 12 pounds. No border charges. It was about $8.00/lb all inclusive, but the El Salvador was something unusual and expensive. I can't recall the exact prices, by I think "regular" beans worked out to $6-$7/lb, including shipping.

                  I feel bad ordering from California instead of from Green Beanery, and Green Beanery is a bit cheaper, but Green Beanery doesn't have the encyclopedic knowledge of coffee or the cupping results. Most of the people there don't know anything about what they have for sale. The downside of Sweet Maria's is that they sometimes have something wonderful, I try to reorder it, and it's all gone. I suppose that's one of the appeals of Starbucks - as with blended wines, you have some idea what you'll be getting if you get something you've had before.

              3. I emailed Moonbeam - no go. Manic Coffee was boasting the Esmerelda (I think that's the name) coffee which is about $130 per lb (a biiit too much for a Christmas gift). I also called three coffee shops in the SLM, and they don't have it...AUGH! I didn't think this would be so hard!

                It has to be Panamanian specifically for two reasons a) because the lady I'm getting it for is from Panama and b) she likes it over every other coffee because a lot of the plantations are in volcanic soil, which makes for a richer, more fragrant bean (I've been told).

                I've thought of Hawaiian coffee, which would have similar properties, but it's just not the same!

                I'll try the other suggestions listed...thank you so much for all your help! Anything else that comes to mind would be appreciated!

                8 Replies
                1. re: slightly_confused

                  Panamanian coffee can be ordered over the Internet from Tatum, a firm in Montreal, Their website is www.tatum.ca, They speak both French and English.

                  1. re: slightly_confused

                    If vocanic soil is what your looking for you can try Sumatran or anything from Indonesia basically. Jamaican Blue Mountain is also quite good. I love the Flecha Roja that Manic carries. The Esmeralda is/was amazing but for the price the Rwandan Gold Cup #4 is nearly as good and only 25 a lb if I remember correctly.

                    1. re: Ender

                      Hi,
                      I just got back from Panama 3 weeks ago, and I can honestly say that Panamanian coffee has really come of age over the past 5 years. The Esmerelda / Geisha varietal has really been making waves after winning an international competition. For me, this is a little too light, although very complex and flavourful (and too expensive).
                      We brought back some beans from Kotowa - both green and pre-roasted...my preference is their organic medium to dark roast, which won 4th prize at the same competition. You can get their coffe at http://www.geishacoffee.com/kotowa-es... - Most of the good high altitude coffe comes from around the Boquette region, although I have had pretty decent low altitude coffee in Panama.

                      1. re: DDD

                        Ahhh! I hope you had fun in Panama. We went in April and had some great eats in Panama City and elsewhere in the country. Unfortunately, after reading this thread, I'm sad to hear that I didn't try the coffee there. I wasn't aware that it had a reputation, and as I'm not a coffee drinker, I only indulge when I'm somewhere that's renowned to have particularly special coffee.

                    2. re: slightly_confused

                      I'll be getting some La Esmeralda Especial Geisha from this place in Kansas for a lot less than what Manic is charging...

                      http://www.ptscoffee.com/store/produc...

                      1. re: TexSquared

                        I don't think Manic was actually selling beans, just brewed coffee.

                        That said, you could (at the time) purchase beans from Manic's source, Intelligentia Coffee. I think they're out now. Not sure what they were charging.

                        In either case, I'm pretty sure (although not 100%) that the coffee that Intelligentsia and Manic had was from the auction lot of the Esmeralda, and what PTs is selling is not. I think the auction lots was getting a premium over the non-auction coffee.

                        -Josh

                        1. re: detritus

                          There is no Panama coffee available on the Intelligentsia site.

                          1. re: jayt90

                            Yes, like I said, I think they're now out of the Esmeralda for this year.

                            -Josh

                    3. I know the Second Cup on Leslie (just south of 401) always has the El Toucan beans. I don't know if other outlets have it as well, but according to their website its "An exquisite estate coffee from slopes of the 11,500-foot volcano Café Volcan Baru in Western Panama ". I have to say its not my favourite, but they seem to sell a lot of it at this location.

                      1. Slightly, i would call Manic back and ask to speak to either Matt, Sam or Nick to see if they could recommend either a) where you can get some Panamanian thats easy on the wallet or b) if there's something similar and comparable in taste/texture/aroma. If anyone will know coffee, it will be those guys. Hell Nick used to edit and publish the blog for Artigiano's. In fact, i would even explore getting some 49th Parallel or Novo beans shipped from Vancouver. The shipping might be expensive though.

                        1. Try the www.greenbeanery.ca they are online and located in the Annex they have everything you can imagine.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: art vandal

                            As embee has stated in a previous post, greenbeanery does not have Panama coffee at present. The post linking to a Montreal source (see ekammin) does nor work.
                            Here is a source, after a simple Google search

                            http://www.coffeefrompanama.com/Chris...

                            1. re: jayt90

                              The reason the link does not work is that, for some reason, in comes up with a comma after the .ca. Eliminate that - www.tatum.ca - and it will work just fine.

                              (A few minutes later) I just tried it, clicking on the link in the line above. It worked very well.

                              1. re: ekammin

                                The "English" does not work, and has never worked to the best of my knowledge.

                                1. re: embee

                                  My apologies about that - I usually use the French version, and never bothered to check the English option.

                              2. re: jayt90

                                Just use www.coffeefrompanama.com and it will work like a charm.

                            2. I just discovered, in my freezer, a small unopened packet of ground Panamanian coffee purchased on a trip there a couple of years ago. I am willing to part with it to aid a Chowhound in distress. I can't vouch for its freshness or drinkability, but if it's mostly for sentimental purposes, this should do the trick for your friend. It's a 30 g packet - not very much, I know - of Ruiz Cafe de Altura from Boquete, Panama. That was the most widely available brand in the country when we were there and it's also the plantation we happened to visit. If you'd like me to put it in the mail for you, send me an email at fago.feinschmecker@gmail.com. I live in Ontario, but not in Toronto.

                              1. The second cup at king and john carries Panamanian coffee as well. See the review at Toronto.com http://www.toronto.com/restaurants/ar....

                                1. You can order many different Panama coffees....mostly specialty grade and even Geisha on this website http://www.coffeefrompanama.com. Easy and secure. Great Coffee.

                                  Coffee From Panama LLC

                                  1. Tatum is a company in Montreal that sells coffee through its Internet website, including Panamanian, beans or ground. Try www.tatum.ca,