Coffee Harvest Festival, TOL
Coffee: Puerto Rico's Heavenly Brew > Shopping > Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican-harvested coffee is not your ordinary cup of Joe. Throughout history, the Island’s local brew has tantalized the palates of popes, kings and heads of states. The sweet full-bodied coffee is a result of the Island’s distinct geographic location, climate, mineral-rich soil and quality of bean.
Discovered in Ethiopia thousands of years ago, coffee was introduced to Puerto Rico in 1736. Before long, it became an important cash crop for the Island and was exported to the European market, where its standard of excellence demanded a premium price. By the late 19th century, Puerto Rican coffee was the preferred blend of European royalty, and the Island was one of the world’s leading coffee producers. While other localities now produce more coffee, none produce better coffee.
What is it that makes Puerto Rican coffee so great? It all starts with the bean. The Puerto Rican coffee that sprouts from the Island’s volcanic-based soil is cultivated from the Arabica bean, considered the richest in flavor among the coffee varieties. Tropical regions—such as Puerto Rico’s—provide the most favorable farming conditions. The Island’s high mountains, some of which exceed 3,000 ft, supply a moist, cool temperature and abundant rainfall.
Coffee has various levels of classification, the highest being café superpremium. Throughout the world, just three coffees possess this ultimate grade, one of which is the locally produced Alto Grande. This superpremium Puerto Rican brew is grown in the high mountainous municipality of Lares at the Hacienda Alto Grande, where it has been processed uninterrupted for more than 150 years. Another homegrown brand that has received international recognition is Café Yauco Selecto, ranked among the world’s top-ten coffees by Wine Spectator Magazine.
Before you leave our Island, be sure to stock up on some coffee … it makes for a great gift. Some other brands to look for are Rioja, Coquí, Café Rico and Yaucono. If you later need more, don’t worry, many Internet sites sell Puerto Rican coffee.