There are some indications that green coffee first arrived in Panama as early as 1742, but the first attempts at commercial cultivation didn’t occur until the 1780’s. Planting at low altitudes around the port city of Portobelo, these efforts failed. It would be another 100 years, when coffee was planted in the highlands around the Volcano “Baru,” before commercial cultivation of Panama coffee was successful; however, nearly all coffee grown in Panama was used for internal consumption and the country was better known for exporting tea. Panamanians drank more coffee than they grew and had to import coffee to meet demand until the 1940’s. Exports grew slowly over the years, peaking in 1996 at 181,000 bags. Although there have been a few spikes since then, exports have settled down around 50,000 bags for the last 10 years as producers shifted their focus from volume to quality. More than 50% of coffee production is still consumed domestically.