Puerto Rico – Mountain-grown Coffee

Puerto Rico has historically been a center of fine coffee growing, but what is not well known is the high quality and sublime flavor of the beans grown on the island. Long overshadowed by Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee, Puerto Rican coffee has a similar mild and refreshing flavor yet does not have the high cost of its more famous neighbor. Puerto Rico and Jamaica share a similar climate, fertile mountains, and perhaps most important a Bauxite (aluminum ore) infused soil that the coffee plant thrives in.

Coffee was introduced to the New World in the year 1723 when French colonists brought it to the Caribbean island of Martinique. In 1736, the Spanish governors of Puerto Rico saw in the island’s climate and geography the perfect location for coffee growing. Indeed, coffee thrived in the lush mountains of Puerto Rico and grew to become a leading export crop. The cafes and courts of Europe sipped Puerto Rican coffee and its rich flavor, said to contain a hint of cocoa, was widely appreciated. Puerto Rico’s coffee plantations were battered by a succession of deadly hurricanes and over time, the island lost its preeminent position as a leading coffee grower and exporter. Even so, the cognoscenti among coffee lovers still appreciate the fine flavor and reasonable cost of Puerto Rican coffee.

The similarity between the best Puerto Rican coffee, Alto Grande, and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee was confirmed when Jamaican exports were curtailed by a damaging hurricane. The majority of Blue Mountain coffee exports had long been bought up by buyers in Japan who substituted Alto Grande when supplies of Blue Mountain coffee ran short. The high quality and distinctive flavor of Puerto Rico’s Alto Grande coffee has retained a loyal following in Japan, even after the resumption of Blue Mountain coffee exports. If you ever have the chance, try some of Puerto Rico’s delicious mountain grown coffee. One taste and you’ll become a fan for life!