As in much of the world, in Puerto Rico, we start our day with a cup of coffee,but it’s not the usual cup of coffee. We drink extremely strong coffee, brewed from beans grown in our mountain towns, and roasted locally. Each mountain town bean has a slightly different taste with a vociferous following. Some prefer their coffee with hot milk, café con leche, similar to café au lait but with a distinctly more coffee taste than its French counterpart. Locally-grown coffee has a world-wide following. It is said that our coffee is the favorite in the Vatican.
Some coffee historians have a different account of the beginning of coffee growing in the island. They believe that its origin dates back to the post Columbus arrival in Puerto Rico.
One can reasonably suspect that coffee might have been introduced in Puerto Rico by the Spanish who found the perfect climate and soil conditions in the high altitudes of the Coffee of Puerto Rico Cordillera Central mountain region in the late 1500′s or early 1600′s. However the introduction occurred, the fact remains that the coffee plant was born in Africa in an Ethiopian region (Kaffa). It spread out to Yemen, Arabia and Egypt and on to other parts of the world and later to the Pacific and Central and South America and the Caribbean. The coffee bean followed the same route except that it was in Europe that it first became a popular drink and later on throughout the rest of the western hemisphere.
Puerto Rico Coffee has always been considered of the finest quality in taste and aroma and it was coveted in Europe as the best coffee of the world. This standard was the guideline followed to compare coffees being produced elsewhere.