we started our morning out at 5:00 am, making our way to the airport for our flight to David. Chris Schooley, from Coffee Shrub and I would land in David in the Northwest corner of Panama and drive another hour to Volcan to help a couple farms with sample roaster training, production roasting and just to commiserate with fellow coffee folks. our first stop was Finca Eleta, which is a medium sized farm that primarily roasts for the Panamanian domestic market and a little bit of exportable grade coffee to Japan. we spent much of the morning asking questions about their farm, the cupping lab and a host of other related issues around quality control and coffee profiling. we had a wonderful lunch of cured ham, red beans and rice. it hit the spot and was a true down home meal. we then went to visit Tessie Hartmann and Finca Hartmann and toured their beautiful farm after a cupping of some of their “honey” processed coffees as well as some other coffees from their farm. Tessie and her husband have been part of a 90 year tradition that their family began here in the steep terraced, tropical grandeur that is Panama. my first trip here, hopefully, will not be my last. tomorrow, we host a roasting class for most of the morning and then head out to visit more farms in the Volcan area. the light has slipped away from my window and the two rivers that cross my hotel balcony churn and whistle its continuous rhythm. day one has exceeded all expectation and i am so excited to finally see for myself one of the most beautiful places on earth as well as one of the most interesting coffee producing countries in the world.