The Crew’s 5 Favorite Puerto Rico Products

Here at Caribbean Trading Company, our focus is on unique and authentic gifts.  As part of that, we are always on the search for great local products, attending many festivals throughout the year and also sourcing for our retail shops.  Puerto Rico offers a wealth of options and is known for some really great products, so if you are visiting Puerto Rico and looking for something to bring home, here is our list of the Crew’s favorite Puerto Rico Products:

Coffee

Puerto Rico is known for it’s coffee.  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 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.  Today, you can enjoy some of the finest Puerto Rican coffee available.  It truly has a taste all it’s own and we love it so much that we travel with it when we leave the island!  Here are four great Puerto Rican coffee options, all at varying price points:

Yauco Selecto – Arabica beans make for  a well-balanced cup, with a creamy, almost buttery taste, with an arresting aftertaste and a hint of chocolate undertones.

Alto Grande – Alto Grande coffee is comprised of only the finest Grade A Arabica coffee beans.  There are only three Super Premium Coffees in the World, and Alto Grande has the distinct privilege of being one of them.

Tesoro del Sol – Try our signature brand, a selection of the best arábigo prime coffee beans, which are then roasted to the maximum grade in order to brew the best “café colao” that your refined taste demands.

Yaucono – Cafe Yaucono, ground for drip style coffee is the most beloved coffee on the Island of Puerto Rico and is perfect for every day use.

Rum

Puerto Rico just so happens to be the rum capital of the world, having produced the sugarcane – derived liquor for more than 450 years.   Available in many varieties including light, gold, dark, and flavored, all local rums, by law, must age for a one-year minimum.  Now, of course, there is Bacardi Rum, but we encourage you to explore these rums which are truly excellent and not exported outside of Puerto Rico:

Ron Barillito: Brown rum distilled from fermented molasses. Minimum of 6 to 10 years in used whisky and bourbon barrels.  The perfect sipping rum!  The extra time spent aging is evident in this heavier rum with a slightly smoky flavor that doesn’t overpower the rum flavor

Don Q: Subtle, tropical flower nose. A round entry leads to a smooth, very dry, medium-bodied palate with sugarcane stalk and dried herbs. Finishes with a snappy, peppery fade. A very nice, understated, mixing-style rum (Source Beverage Testing Institute) Made by one of the oldest Distilleries, the Serralles Family Distillery, this rum carries on the tradition of over 100 years of quality spirits.  This rum is very smooth, and mixes with anything.  A delicious rum of high-quality and good taste.

Alcoholado

This liniment is a traditional tincture that has been passed along for generations. A Puerto Rican specialty! It’s an alcohol rub with bay laurel leaf extract which has the most incredibly pleasant smell to it. This organic artisan alcoholado is used to alieve muscular aches and pain, spasms, arthritis, rheumatism and respiratory problems. It is a natural expectorant for congestion and eliminates mucus – perfect to combat colds, flus, bronchitis, and asthma. It is applied as a rubbing alcohol on the skin in the affected region.  Also good for bug bites and bee stings!

This product is great and we use it for bug bites and for colds.  Click Here to get your own

Dominoes

“El Domino” is for Puerto Ricans and many Latinos not simply a game of strategy or just a pastime, but also it is an activity around which community relationships are built and sustained. Dominoes are played in all circles in the Puerto Rican society by people of all ages. It is primarily known as a family game, since it is learned by children from their fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. Although it is a game usually played at home, it is also played where friends gather. Women play with men and children. It provides the perfect excuse for community members to sit for hours around the tables, combining competition with camaraderie, and it also provides the occasion for sharing information, through word of mouth, about important issues that affect the participants.  In Dominoes, it is interesting that one of the team strategies summarizes a community theme: “The best offensive strategy is to defend your partner.” Around the domino table, the players & families interact – cooking, playing music together and just mingling; therefore dominoes becomes a social-familiar event, almost a ritual, in which all become refreshed and spiritually recharged.

Our favorite dominoes are these done by a local artisan out of a hardwood.  They are the perfect gift for that special man in your life!

Traditional Piques and Hot Sauces

Puerto Rican food is not known for being spicy.  Rather, all the spice goes into the local piques or hot sauces, which are used by hot sauce lovers on everything from chicken pinchos to rice and beans.  Many restaurants and roadside stands boast their own piques, some of varying quality.  But here at Caribbean Trading Company, we have tried and tested them all and these are our favorites, excelling in flavor, consistency, and quality:

Mi Madre Pique:  This pique is a vinegar based pique done in the traditional Puerto Rican style with whole peppers and culantro infused to the vinegar/oil mix.  All natural and no preservatives- it is perfection!

Pique Criollo:  We found this Pique several years when road-tripping the western coast of Puerto Rico and know we had to have it in the store.  It comes in three flavors and is a traditional favorite with our customers.

Caribbean Trading Company Crushed Pepper Sauces:  Our sauces are packed with goodness!  We wanted a hot sauce that was hot, but also packed in some good flavor.  Of the 10 flavors available, they fall into 5 heat levels.  What’s the most popular?  The Off the Plank Naga Jolokia is a favorite one, primarily because it is made with the world’s hottest pepper!  Garlic is also a winning flavor, found in On the Plank Garlic Habanero and the Fire Roasted Habanero Garlic Infused.

Captain Tim
Captain Tim

Captain Tim is the founder of Caribbean Trading Company in Puerto Rico. Many years ago Captain Tim was a normal everyday guy who decided to do what so many people only dream about. He moved to the Caribbean. Traveling throughout the islands, he has the joy of sharing this lifestyle and its flavors with the world.

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