Janson Farm is in the village of Volcan in the province of Chiriqui. It is very easy to get there as there are signs in the village that indicate the location of the coffee shop. Right next to it is Finca Ceriana that belongs to the same family. You can stay in a hotel in Volcan or in a hotel in Cerro Punta.
Lagoons and the history of the Baru Volcano
There are two lagoons at Janson Farm that are craters from when the Baru Volcano erupted. They are about 20-25 minutes by 4×4 car since the road is very bad. You can from the airport in your own car, you do not need to ask permission. People go hiking, camping or fishing in the lakes.
In rainy season it is recommended to go on foot, since cars can get stuck. It takes about 40 minutes on flat terrain along a stone and muddy path. Similarly, it is better to go in summer, which is from December to April. They have three cabins in the lagoons that can be rented. They host a couple, four and six people.
The real history of the Baru Volcano is not known. Thousands of years ago the volcano erupted with an avalanche that left 30 cubic kilometers of organic matter in the area. New hills were created which permeated the soil with nutrients and minerals. As a result the soil is extremely fertile, which allows quality coffee and vegetables to grow.
The original crater of Baru Volcano was much larger. The avalanche took away 1,200 meters of height. A dome grows in the center of the volcano that serves as an escape since it has fumaroles that release pressure and keeps the volcano in a dormant, not active state. Since it is an explosive volcano, lava would not cover more than 11 square kilometers, the problem would be gases and rocks, especially.
Coffee Tours at Janson Farm
There are several options for doing a coffee tour at Janson Farm. It really depends on the visitor’s interest and how much time they have available. The basic tour explains the different varieties of coffee plants. Then you go to the mill, pre-drying patio, dry mill, toaster, and packing, finishing in the coffee shop.
You can add a visit to the nursery and the coffee estate, where is the coffee farm. To get there you must walk about 10 minutes after the bridge in the nursery.
If you take a premium tour, you will do a tasting of the three main types of coffee: Janson, Washed Geisha and Natural Geisha. These fall into the category of special competition coffee. You can also taste geisha peel tea. They have fine coffee but it is not included in the tastings since it is a more commercial coffee.
Finca Janson has 800 hectares but only uses 10% for planting coffee. This coffee is sold locally at Riba Smith, Super 99, Pricesmart and El Rey Supermarket. They export mainly to the Netherlands, about 4,500 bags of 2.5 pounds per month.
They sell coffee online and ship to any part of the world. The farm has won many awards. This year they participated in the Best of Panama competition and won the third prize with the geisha. Every year they win with their geisha.
Plant nursery and livestock angus
A large nursery is located a few minutes from the Janson Coffee House. Those who visit can buy medicinal, ornamental and fruit plants. They also sell coffee seedlings between six months to 3-4 years.
Originally they planted coffee from the Arabica, Caturra and Catuai families, until the geisha boom came, which is known as the green geisha, which is the most expensive coffee on the planet. It has taken years to develop it, since they had to remove a plantain field to grow it.
Janson Farm has high quality red and black angus cattle, with very pure genes, that is why they are sold alive since there are very few in Panama. They used to do horse tours, but not anymore. You can still do bird watching tours with outside guides.
History of the Janson family
Carl Janson migrated from Sweden to Panama in the 1940s. He was the youngest son and decided to take a trip after having an argument with his father. He arrived at the port of Panama without speaking Spanish having $100 in his pocket, which at that time was quite a lot of money.
He heard a couple speaking Swedish and approached them. They were looking for bananas to export and he said he would do it with 2 days of being in Panama. He went to Darien and gets contacts to buy bananas. Then he realizes that there were no companies that made maritime haulage and decides to open one. It begins to grow and he decides to invest part of the money in the highlands of Chiriqui, buying a farm near the town of Volcán.
Janson Farm has a very small airport. For a long time it was thought to be of the government but the military dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega had given it to a friend who died and it turned out that the wife was the owner. Roux’s family offered her $120,000 for the airport so today the property is divided between both families. The airport is used for private flights.
Originally they had livestock at Finca Janson. The second generation started planting coffee. Now there is the fourth generation alive and it is still a family business.