Puerto Rico has had a long history of coffee making. Jíbaros, the country people, were the ones producing the coffee that was then shipped to countries all over the world. Their product became famous and today is considered one of the best. A visit to Puerto Rico would not be complete without sampling freshly roasted coffee. Here are four places to do just that.
1. Finca Cialitos: This newly opened café on San Justo street, Old San Juan, offers a rare taste of delicious Puerto Rican coffee and of Puerto Rican tradition. Joaquín Pastor González is today the one in charge of this 60 year-old finca found in the rural town of Ciales. I will let his own words describe his business: “I roast because it is my passion. The best coffee roast is the one that maximizes all the origin characters. It reveals the unique characters of the place the coffee is from to the maximum degree. That special place, with that unique micro climate, latitude, altitude and soil composition makes the coffee from each origin unique. Our goal is to sell the truth. Only sell the best of what we produce. An unique coffee from the center of the island of Puerto Rico.” Joaquín covers the entire coffee-making process, delivering it to his store in San Juan and then serving it to your table. This makes Finca Cialitos a truly authentic café, worth visiting if you are in San Juan.
2. Caficultura: Some may say that the best coffee in San Juan is served here. Their coffee is very tasty and strong and with every item on the menu being prepared with fresh ingredients supplied by local farmers, you know you have to stop here. Local coffee is prepared in an artful way just for show because the flavor is enough to impress you. Their breakfasts are delicious and served until late afternoon for those who wake up a little later. Try the coconut french toasts and the fruit salad.
3. La Bombonera: A local staple and a retro landmark, La Bombonera, established in 1902 offers fresh coffee from a vintage machine made in Cuba. Accompany your coffee with their famous pan de mallorca, a flat, toasted pastry covered in confectioners sugar and butter. Locals flock here to enjoy their morning “prieto” coffee and gossip about the latest happenings on the island. Visit with enough time in your hands, eaters take their time to enjoy their food. Do the same.
Another way of trying our best coffee, is sauntering to the high lands of the island to reach the plantations.
3. Café Hacienda San Pedro: Head to Jayuya and visit this beautiful hacienda where passion is high priority and an essential part of their coffee-making. Take a tour of the place and learn how about the process. You can also try their coffee and buy some to take home. The great thing about this place is its location, Jayuya is a gorgeous mountain town, full of natural spectacles. So bring your camera.
4. Hacienda Buena Vista: This is perhaps the most popular and renowned hacienda in Puerto Rico, mostly because of its rich history and longevity. Started in 1833 by Don Salvador de Vives, the plantation now operates as a museum. Restored to its former glory during the 80s, the hacienda functions with the help of nature’s hand. A waterfall takes part of the coffee-making process and the sun is used to dry the beans. If you want to try the coffee, visit during the fall or winter, when the harvest and processing takes place. During these seasons, you will be allowed make coffee and, of course, taste the end result.