History of The Puerto Rican Coffee Industry

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory about 90 minutes away from the mainland. Being the oldest of the world’s colonies this island is a blend of two cultures. Beyond the renowned beaches, there exists an isolated and almost abandoned island, “coffee country”. It once formed an economic rich and produced a coffee that was prized world over. The territory of Puerto Rico is located in the famous Bean Belt and produces some high quality coffee beans. In the nineteenth century Puerto Rican Coffee was known as the coffee of Popes and Kings but since then Puerto Rico has become a net importer of coffee due to some disasters, natural and man-made. Since the last decade the growth of interest in specialty coffees has again spurred production and encouraged people in the island to once again enjoy the Caribbean coffee.

Puerto Rico until recently was not well known for its coffee. However, some of the first coffee plantings were established in this area in 1737 by the Spanish immigrants. The island is ideally situated at an altitude which provides a perfect temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit with good fertile soil known as “humata arcilloso”, also with adequate rain fall. In 1890s, Puerto Rico was the sixth largest producer of coffee in the world, and a major exporter to Europe where it was famously known as “the coffee of choice” at the Vatican.

Why there was a decline in Puerto Rican coffee production?

In 1898 Puerto Rico was hit by two hurricanes which devastated the island’s coffee production. Same year Spain surrendered Puerto Rico to the United States which ended their 400 years of colonization. This disallowed to export Puerto Rican coffee tax-free to Europe; it was now subject to duties. Now Puerto Rico which was under the United States sovereignty had a long standing agreement with Brazil for the supply of coffee.

Restoration of the Puerto Rican coffee industry.

Despite of the setbacks faced by the coffee industry, the island was still producing coffee on a reduced scale. The government did introduce some guaranteed minimum price but because of the scarcity in supplies even the local demand couldn’t be met. The establishment of the Puerto Rican coffee industry in the 1980s and the boom in the 1990s revived the coffee production, and now people can again enjoy the famous Caribbean coffee.

Some of the most popular Puerto Rican coffee:

1. Café Yaucono – This coffee has been the best of all Caribbean’s coffee and also the Vatican’s favorite. A premium blend made under their famous household name. It has the perfect roast flavor, smooth and balanced. It is the favorite among the classic coffee lovers.

2. Café Crema – Everyday drink with delicious, uncomplicated and clear tasting.

3. Yauco Selecto – Arabica beans with a creamy, buttery taste with a hint of chocolate makes a unique coffee.

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