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Panama City

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As I wait for my connecting flight from London to Panama, I have only one thing in my head: I need coffee!

Even though Panama grows some of the most amazing coffee in the world, the whole “let’s have coffee” culture didn’t really exist up until now. Before, it was more of a morning-at-home thing or an office crap-cup sort of a deal. But in the past year or so, a new breed of barista lovers has been waking up to this piping-hot reality…or cool reality, if you prefer (I confess to being guilty of introducing iced coffee to this tropical nation via Lenny’s in New York…thanks, Barbara!). So today we will talk about my two faves.

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First, Casa Sucre in Casco Viejo. Casa Sucre is a mini boutique hotel, and when I say mini, I’m not exaggerating. On the ground level it has a hip cafeteria that for some reason reminds me of Berlin, but when you taste the coffee, you know it’s Panama. Make sure to check out the little back room, one of my fave spots. And second—but not least—there is Café Unido. Chef Mario Castrellón, who I have mentioned before, started this coffee hot spot with partners Mani and Benito, who has become quite a barista. They offer not only great coffee, but yummy bacon and cheese sandwiches, too. A new Café Unido will open in a couple of weeks inside the American Trade Hotel (a.k.a. El Ace Hotel de Panama), so if you are staying in the coolest spot in Panama, make sure you drink the warmest cup of joe—or shall we call it cup of juan? Anyway, I’m jet-lagged…let me have some coffee.

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Photos: Courtesy of Miky Fabrega

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