This post is also available in: Spanish
By Jacob Ehrler
When Carolina Kardonski was studying jewelry making in Manhattan she would bring specialty teas home to her brother, Lucas, as gifts. “Why does no business in Panama sell top quality teas?” she asked herself. Soon plans were under way to open a tea shop.
Lucas had grown fond of specialty coffee and together they decided to start a business that would deliver both first rate coffee and tea, a need in the Panamanian market. Thus was born TéCafé. It is located on Vía Israel, across from the Alberto Einstein High School just a block from the four way stoplight on the Riba Smith end of the expansive MultiPlaza Pacific Mall.
The highest order of coffee perfection is respected here, from harvest to cup. Different options of beans line the walls and a roaster in the back brings a showcase element to the shop. Carolina sourced the best teas from around the world (there are 65 in stock from China, Japan, Sri Lanka and India) and sure the food service side of the business would come off as well.
It certainly did. Together, they built what has quickly become the de-facto coffee and tea emporium of Panama. The soups, sandwiches, salads, creams and homemade pastas compliment the best coffees and teas from Panama and around the world.
TéCafé is a popular spot to convene not only for coffee and tea, but drinks as well. On hand are wine, beers, full bar and specialty cocktails. Fresh loose leaf teas are used to make the Long Island Iced Tea.
Tuesday to Saturday
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Vía Israel at Calle 69, ground
floor of PH Marina Plaza
“My three favorite coffees we offer are Panamanian,” says Carolina with pride. Carmen Estate from the Carlos Aguilera Farm is an Arabica coffee that comes in two different forms, natural and washed. Natural beans have the fruit, or pulp, left on them and they absorb the natural sugars for longer than washed beans. It does not require a discerning connoisseur to distinguish the difference. In house, it sells for $3.25 using the siphon or drip and $3 for French press. This makes for one nice big cup or two cups shared. To go, it is $16 per pound, ground or whole bean.
Panamanian coffee gained fame around the world when a lot of beans was auctioned off in Japan at over $100 per pound. It was a varietal called Geisha that grows very well in the Chiriquí highlands. A light bodied, floral coffee with hints of cacao and jasmine, many compare its taste to tea rather than coffee.
Tasting it here costs $9 per cup and it retails at $103 per pound, both groundbreaking opportunities for anyone in Panama as prior to TéCafé the only place to order it was on the farm or somewhere outside of the nation.
How to make coffee with a siphon
Also called “vacpots,” Carolina Kardonski of TéCafé demonstrates what might be the most entertaining way to make a cup of coffee.