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In the 19th century Puerto Rico was one of the world’s leading coffee origins. In 1896, for example, the island was the sixth largest coffee producer in the world. But in the 20th century coffee apparently became lost in the complex political and economic shuffle that marked Puerto Rico’s passage from agricultural economy and Spanish colony to developing American commonwealth. In the late 1980s, however, a consortium of farmers led by Harvard-educated marketing expert Jaime Fortuno revived Puerto Rico as a specialty coffee origin.
But while short and sturdy coffee trees still flourish on parts of the island, it is hard to find Puerto Rican coffee anywhere now. Puerto Rico does not even produce enough to meet its own demand, forcing the island to buy beans from other countries. Up to a quarter of the annual harvest goes to waste, mostly because of one problem: nobody likes picking coffee beans, and there are far more appealing options for work these days.
Caribbean Trading Company’s Café Tesoro del Sol
Lucky for you Caribbean Trading Company’s Cafe Tesoro del Sol coffee is produced for us at the top of the Uroyan mountains, 2300 feet high in the heart of western Puerto Rico. The farm uses no pesticides and the coffee is handpicked when fully ripe, carefully depulped, washed, sun dried and stored under strictly controlled humidity conditions. This extra prime coffee is then roasted to perfection with great care given to maintaining its superior quality. 100 % café arabico, our coffee is soft bodied with a sweet aroma, giving it that legendary “Old Caribbean” character. Smoother than most coffees, Café Tesoro del Sol is the perfect morning eye opener or as a compliment to an excellent meal. Available in 2, 4 and 8 ounce sizes. Whole Bean or Ground are available.
How Puerto Ricans Take Their Coffee:
Generally, there are three ways to order your coffee (Café Americano is a fourth, but it is hardly the favorite):
- An Expreso is your standard Italian espresso, brewed in an espresso machine and usually taken black. A local term for expreso is pocillo, which is a reference to the small cups in which the drink is served.
- My favorite is the Cortadito, which anyone familiar with Cuban coffee will know. This is an expresso layered with a thin sheen of steamed milk.
- Café con leche is like a latté, but in Puerto Rico it usually involves a large dollop of milk in an even larger cup.
This short video present a summary of the history of coffee cultivation in Puerto Rico.
You are starting a journey that will take you back almost 300 years to Spanish colonial Puerto Rico where the smell of lush tropical forests combined with the captivating coffee aroma, framed the development of an industry that was not always fair to the laborers and the ecosystems.
Yet, today it presents one of the best opportunities to develop a prosperous, sustainable standard of living for many coffee zone residents through the strengthening of specialty coffee production and exports, agro tourism, and the preservation of the historical and natural heritage.
Take a look!
Can I Visit a Coffee Plantation:
You may indeed. Several tour companies offer tours to coffee plantations, which are fun trips in Puerto Rico’s interior. Acampa, Countryside Tours and Legends of Puerto Rico all offer them.As for which ones to visit, the following all offer tours and welcome visitors (but call ahead before you go):
- Café Bello in Adjuntas
- Café Hacienda San Pedro in Jayuya
- Café Lareño in Lares (787-897-3643)
- Hacienda Ana in Jayuya (787-378-7551)
- Hacienda Buena Vista in Ponce (787-722-5882 Monday-Friday, 787-284-7020 on weekends)
- Hacienda Palma Escrita/La Casona in Las Marías (787-210-8252)
- Hacienda Patricia in Ponce (787-813-1878)