Best Puerto Rican Coffee — Specialty Brew From The Island Paradise

Puerto Rico doesn’t often feature as an exotic coffee location. However, the region has a strong coffee culture and is home to interesting and delicious coffee. Best Puerto Rican coffee is rich in aroma and has great flavor. It is often characterized as smooth and sweet. 

Arabica is the most common coffee variant grown in Puerto Rico. Though they’re less popular, some other varieties are grown here too.

Top Puerto Rican Coffee Brands

  1. Alto Grande Super Premium Coffee Beans
  2. Julian Coffee Puerto Rican Coffee, Whole Bean
  3. Cafe El Coqui Puerto Rican Coffee
  4. Cafe Yaucono Original Coffee Beans
  5. Cafe Oro de P.R. – Puerto Rican Ground Coffee
  6. Cafe Rico Ground Regular Puerto Rican Coffee
  7. Volcanica Coffee Puerto Rico Coffee, Ciales Mountain
  8. Café Crema Ground Coffee From Puerto Rico

Editor’s Choice: Julian Coffee Puerto Rican Coffee, Whole Bean

Sourced as the Caturra variety of Arabica coffee, Julian Coffee’s Puerto Rico coffee defines the greatest characteristics of Puerto Rican coffee. This light medium roast highlights the coffee’s flavors and is a treat for those who love coffee from this region.

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Read more: Best coffee brands in the world

Reviewed: The Coffee Brands From Puerto Rico

1. Alto Grande Super Premium Coffee Beans

Alto Grande Coffee

Alto Grande coffee claims it is “Acclaimed in the Royal Courts of Europe and the Vatican in Rome”. That’s an interesting recommendation, though I’m not sure how much weight the modern consumer can put into such claims.

Only the premium arabica beans from Puerto Rico go into this bag. They have a limited production but focus on quality to get the best to the consumer. Even with all that going, they manage to provide a good value. 

The coffee does have excellent flavor and aroma, and unless you have very particular tastes, you will love it. Some have gone so far to consider it equivalent to the more exotic Hawaiian Kona or Colombian coffee. The comparisons do credit to the Alto Grande. While there’s no necessity to challenge perceptions, it would be best not to expect the gourmet flavors of Kona coffee or Colombian coffee. 

Highlights

  • Excellent value for money
  • Exciting flavor and aroma
  • Coffee roast: dark

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2. Julian Coffee Puerto Rican Coffee, Whole Bean

Julian Coffee

Our top choice for this category, Julian Coffee Puerto Rican Coffee, Whole Bean brings an excellent and somewhat unique experience of Puerto Rican coffee. The coffee is grown at an elevation of 2300 feet in the mountains of Adjuntas. 

While that’s a useful elevation, it isn’t nearly enough to provide vibrant taste notes to the coffee. This is why it is a bit surprising to see this coffee come in as a light medium roast. It tastes pretty good and has a nice aroma about it as well. The seller claims it is organically grown coffee, but there doesn’t seem to be a USDA certification seal to verify that fact.

Julian Coffee highly recommends this coffee for cold brew. This is a low acidity coffee that will go easy on the stomach of its patrons. With cold brew pushing down the acidity further, you can expect to thoroughly enjoy this coffee as a hot or cold brew.

Highlights

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Great flavor and aroma
  • Low acidity coffee
  • Excellent pick for cold brew
  • Coffee roast: light medium

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3. Cafe El Coqui Puerto Rican Coffee

Cafe El Coqui Puerto Rican Coffee

Cafe El Coqui Puerto Rican Coffee is a simple and straightforward ground coffee. The grind size is best suited for drip machines, but of course, you have the choice to pick whatever brewing method you prefer. The only one it might not work with is espresso. Something like French press could be coaxed to work with this coffee.

Anyways, El Coqui is one of the better known Puerto Rican coffee brands. They have a history of delivering quality coffee and this one is no different. The mellow hint of citrus adds well to the flavor of this coffee. Its pricing fits the budget. Better still, even as a ground coffee, the freshness remains intact. Make sure you store it well!

Highlights

  • Ground coffee
  • Excellent value for money
  • Great taste with a slight hint of citrus notes
  • Coffee roast: medium

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4. Yaucono Ground Coffee

Yaucono Coffee

Cafe Yaucono Original is a whole bean coffee with a lovely flavor and a taste you will remember (and recommend). It’s a medium roast that helps bring out the flavor and keeps the body and aroma intact. 

The coffee has a low acid content and remains enjoyable whether you choose to brew it hot or make a cold brew. It’s actually quite pleasant and makes it clear that there’s no surprise on Yaucono being a leading brand of Puerto Rico coffee.

Highlights

  • Top on taste and flavor
  • Available as ground coffee and whole beans
  • Good value for money
  • Coffee roast: medium

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5. Cafe Oro de P.R. – Puerto Rican Ground Coffee

Cafe Oro Puerto Rican Ground

Cafe Oro de P.R. – Puerto Rican Ground Coffee presents a strong and rich flavor. It’s a darker roast compared to conventional Puerto Rico coffee. The coffee is sourced from mountains of Lares, Puerto Rico and has a great taste and flavor to brag about.

Its excellent aroma makes this coffee very lovable and is a desirable pick for those who prefer darker roasts. Made from arabica beans, this is a ground coffee. It’s a coarse ground best suited for French press, but can be employed for just about anything else. Well, maybe skip brewing espresso, but it’s good for other brewing methods.

Highlights

  • Ground coffee
  • Good taste and aroma
  • Fresh and well-packaged
  • Coffee roast: dark

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6. Cafe Rico Ground Regular Puerto Rican Coffee

Cafe Rico Ground Regular Puerto Rican Coffee

Cafe Rico Ground Regular Puerto Rican Coffee claims to be one of the strongest Puerto Rican coffee brands. This is a medium dark roast with a smooth body and a bold flavor. Topped with a nice aroma, this really is a coffee you can enjoy.

Yaucono and Cafe Rico are perhaps the most recognizable of Costa Rican coffee brands. They’ve got a great touch and have a dedicated following. The strong flavor and boldness of the cup sure help understand this popularity.

Highlights

  • Ground coffee
  • Strong and bold with a great taste
  • Coffee roast: medium dark

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7. Volcanica Coffee Puerto Rico Coffee, Ciales Mountain

Volcanica Coffee

Volcanica’s offering for Puerto Rico coffee carries a touch of the exotic and the delicious. The coffee is sourced from the Cafe Chevere estate in the Ciales Mountain region. There is a winy acidity here and the taste of red fruit shines through. 

The coffee beans have a medium roast to bring out the taste notes and flavor. While we do mention the taste notes, don’t expect them to be particularly vibrant. It’s a good coffee that certainly stands well on its own. However, it’s perhaps best not to compare it to gourmet standards.

Highlights

  • Whole coffee beans
  • Excellent aroma with winy acidity
  • Coffee roast: medium

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8. Café Crema Ground Coffee From Puerto Rico

Café Crema Ground Coffee From Puerto Rico

Café Crema Ground Coffee From Puerto Rico is an excellent ground coffee pick for those who enjoy Puerto Rican coffee. The finely ground coffee is a medium roast and makes a strong and flavorful cup of joe.

Be careful with the extraction process and timing here, because the fine grinds can easily move towards the bitter side. The coffee is sourced from various plantations in the region and roasted and ground to suit its patrons.

Highlights

  • Finely ground coffee
  • Good taste, but tends to go bitter
  • Coffee roast: medium

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A Guide To Puerto Rican Coffee – All You Should Know

Coffee Production In Puerto Rico — Why It Still Has Ways To Go

Puerto Rico was once a major coffee growing region in the world. However, political upheaval and changing priorities saw the island’s coffee production take a nosedive. Until 1898, the region was amongst the top 10 coffee producers in the world. Things started to change after the island came under the control of the USA.

A major shift was that farmers put a greater emphasis on sugarcane production. Shifting to the new crop put coffee at a disadvantage and the island saw a huge drop in its coffee production.

Some farms continued to operate, but the game had changed. With a focus on increasing production, most plantations removed shade-giving trees. The loss of trees had a direct impact on coffee quality and the region slipped further. All of this caused Puerto Rico coffee to lose the status of being exotic and desired.

From being considered one of the world’s finest coffee with exotic flavor and mouthfeel, the island turned to being just another coffee producer.

However, things are changing now, though as these things go, the progress can be slow. There is a greater understanding and revival of Puerto Rican coffee. But there are several logistical and commercial problems to be tackled. As a simple example, the shade-giving trees that are so important can take years to reach the desired level of foliage and presence. 

So yes, the region is making great progress, but it will be some time before it can even realistically consider going back to its golden age. As things stand, currently Puerto Rico has to import coffee to meet its domestic demand.

How To Make Puerto Rican Coffee — Café Con Leche

Coffee tradition is deeply rooted and culturally important in Puerto Rico. A very popular beverage in the region is Café Con Leche. Literally, this translates to coffee with milk. Of course, it isn’t as simple as plonking milk into some coffee! There is a bit more that gives this coffee its unique touch and taste.

Here’s a quick overview of brewing your own Café Con Leche. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll assume a single cup is used. The ratios are simple and can be easily scaled to the number of cups you want.

  • Heat a cup of water to just below boiling. This is important – the water, and the overall preparation should not come to boil.
  • Turn down heat as the water nears boiling and add a tablespoon of coffee.
  • Mix the water and coffee grounds and let them simmer for about a minute.
  • Add a teaspoon of sugar and let it dissolve.
  • You can also add a quarter cup of milk along with the sugar. It is best to heat the milk separately before adding it to the mix. Alternatively, you can add the (warm) milk to coffee once it is in your cup.
  • Strain the coffee from the pot and put it into your cup.
  • Enjoy!

FAQs

Why is Puerto Rican coffee so good?

Puerto Rican coffee is generally acknowledged to be strong, smooth, and full-bodied. This combination makes it an excellent beverage and lends more flavor to Puerto Rican coffee. It’s not high-grown, so there is a low acidity, but the flavor and mouthfeel are evident and enjoyable.

How do you make Yaucono coffee?

You can make Yaucono coffee as any regular coffee. However, there are ways to make it in authentic Puerto Rico style. 

  • When brewing Café Con Leche, add a tablespoon of coffee to simmering water (not boiling water). 
  • Mix, and let the coffee and water stay on heat for about a minute.
  • Add sugar to taste and strain the coffee – your beverage is ready.

Here’s another way:

  • Heat one cup of water.
  • Put a tablespoon of coffee in a strainer.
  • Place the strainer over a cup and slowly pour water on the strainer.
  • The water passes through the coffee and collects in a cup.
  • Transfer this coffee back into the pot, place the strainer over the cup, and pour it again.
  • Passing coffee through the strainer twice lets it be bolder and stronger.

Is Cafe Con Leche the same as a latte?

Cafe Con Leche is indeed very similar in flavor to a latte, but they’re not the same. For one, the latte uses steamed milk while Cafe Con Leche uses scalded milk. Secondly, a latte uses espresso as a base. Cafe Con Leche is a strong brew made over heat, but it is no espresso. 

While the latte is certainly more popular, both of these are excellent beverages. If you haven’t yet enjoyed either of the two, now’s a good time to get started.

Here’s My Coffee To Pick

Choosing the best Puerto Rican coffee can be a tough job because the flavors and taste notes don’t vary hugely with growing regions. It’s a strong, smooth, and well-bodied coffee that is greatly enjoyable. Our top pick for this category is Julian Coffee Puerto Rican Coffee. However, you can’t go wrong with other (popular) brands like Yaucono, Café Crema, and Café Rico.