THE HISTORY OF COFFEE FROM ITS BEGINNINGS
It is collected, pulped, dried in the sun, piled, the shell is removed, it is vented, it is roasted and ground. It is boiled with water and strained. It is taken black or with milk
Coffee is a faithful companion to thousands of Puerto Ricans every morning at breakfast time.
But how and when did that product arrive on the Island? According to studies carried out by specialists in the field, it was in the 18th century that the first coffee trees arrived on the Island and since then, it has not detached from our soil.
However, the fruit of the coffee traveled many places before reaching our beaches. Here are some guide questions and answers to briefly learn about the history of our coffee.
Where does coffee come from?
Coffee is a plant native to Ethiopia, in Africa. From there he went to Yemen, in Arabia, where a large for-profit company developed.
With pilgrimages to Mecca, “some pilgrims managed to get the coffee out and took it to India. Also to France and Holland, where it was originally cultivated under artificial conditions ”, because the climate was not conducive to its natural cultivation.
How does coffee get to America?
The Dutch sent the coffee trees to the Java region, where it was successful and from there it began to spread to different regions.
The first coffee plant in the New World arrived in the Dutch Guyanas in South America in 1714.
How do you get to Puerto Rico?
In 1723, a French Navy officer, Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, acquired a sapling from a coffee plant in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Paris and brought it to America, specifically to the Island of Martinique. From there it went to the Dominican Republic and in 1736 the Spanish introduced coffee to Puerto Rico, which gave rise to a product that came to be considered "The Best Coffee In The World". A gradual expansion of its cultivation began to be observed from the mid-nineteenth century, however, it was in the 1870s when its production and worldwide sale developed rapidly.
What was the first place in Puerto Rico where coffee was planted?
The cultivation of coffee in Puerto Rico began in the municipality of Coamo, with the expansion of the cultivation of cane, coffee gradually moved to the mountainous towns of the interior of the Island, where it found more afforestation and therefore, the plant could live longer.
The Central West region becomes the area with the highest concentration of coffee crops on the Island, where little by little coffee plantations begin to emerge.
At what point does Puerto Rico coffee acquire international fame?
The golden age in the coffee industry in Puerto Rico, (Porto Rico), was for the second half of the 19th century. As a Spanish colony, the product begins to be sold on a large scale in Europe and gains great fame for its quality, aroma and flavor.
Puerto Rico had become one of the largest coffee exporters in America. This is known as the "golden age" of coffee in Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rican coffee that sprouts from the volcanic soil of the Island is grown from the Arabica seed, considered the most flavorful among the coffee varieties. Tropical regions like Puerto Rico provide the most favorable conditions for cultivation. The Island's high mountains, some exceeding 3,000 feet in height, provide a cool, humid temperature and abundant rain.
In Puerto Rico, coffee is closely related to our personality and the Island has always been recognized for its good coffee. The coffee plantation has always been a background for the great socio-economic transformations and it figures as the setting in our novel, theater and folk music.