The History of Puerto Rican Coffee, By Earl of Coffee - Julian Coffee World

The History of Puerto Rican Coffee

The Rich History Of Puerto Rican Coffee 

Besides its pristine beaches, a fun blend of culture, and Latin heartthrobs, Puerto Rico offers another bit of richness to its history—coffee. Unlike more popular South American coffee beans, Puerto Rico witnessed the fluctuation of the supply and demand of coffee over the years. It has yet to keep up with strong local demands since its reemergence after hurricanes devastated coffee farms. Today's coffee lover may not be familiar with Puerto Rican coffee, and that's fine. Let's discover more about this country's rich yet elusive coffee story together.


 It's interesting to note that in the 1800s, Puerto Rico was the 4th largest coffee producer in the Americas and the 6th largest coffee exporter in the world. If you're wondering how this gigantic industry became as elusive as it is now, certain uncontrollable factors were at play.

 A hurricane in the late 1800s devastated coffee farms, which left them struggling to rebuild their coffee estates or haciendas. And when Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States, it competed with more popular producers like Brazil and Hawaii. The change in the economic climate also caused migration and military drafting, leaving the locals with a significant shortage of workers. But by the 1950s, Puerto Ricans witnessed an increase in their local demand for coffee as they consumed more coffee than they could produce, resulting in importation. The irony is real, but what does Puerto Rico's coffee industry look like now?

Puerto Rican Coffee Today 

Puerto Rican baristas and farmers are hopeful about the future of their country's coffee industry through the rise of specialty coffee and quality baristas. Exporting Puerto Rican coffee to Asia and Europe causes a significant increase in prices because of tariffs, making it difficult for them to compete with coffee from other countries. This situation paved the way for a focused approach to specialty coffee through participation in international competitions. Local initiatives have also been put in place to label and package Puerto Rican coffee as single origins. Farmers also get awards for best cultivation practices and high-quality products.


Coffee Growing Regions In Puerto Rico


  • Yauco - One of the most popular coffee regions in Puerto Rico is Yauco. It is a mountainous terrain known as the country's 'City of Coffee' and is ideal for coffee cultivation.


  • Ponce – This area is known for its gourmet Arabica beans and houses Puerto Rico's tallest mountain.


Other areas that cultivate coffee in Puerto Rico include:


  • San Sebastian
  • Lares
  • Las Marias
  • Adjuntas
  • Jayuya


 Puerto Rican Coffee Taste

Traditional Puerto Rican coffee has caramel and chocolate notes with a smooth consistency and very minimal acidity. The flavor varies depending on the region, and some have shifted toward a more citrusy and nuttier blend. Because of its fine grounds, Puerto Rican coffee can be enjoyed as an espresso drink or through automatic drip coffee machines.

 It hasn't been easy for Puerto Rico, especially since Hurricane Maria devastated its coffee farms in 2017. The journey to reviving its coffee industry is fraught with challenges, but the island remains optimistic. Fight the good fight with Puerto Rico by enjoying their coffee the best way you can.

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