If you’ve been to Puerto Rico, you know it’s a tropical paradise with tons of unique places to visit. Did you also know that this island has some of the best coffee in the world? While places like Colombia and Ecuador get most of the attention, Puerto Rico has been delivering high-quality coffee for centuries.
Puerto Rico has a long and proud tradition of growing coffee crops, dating back to when it was a Spanish colony. For over a century, Puerto Rican coffee has been enjoyed worldwide, particularly because of its sweet and decadent flavor. However, after the US annexed the island in 1898, it focused on sugar plantations, so coffee production slowed down.
Overall, Puerto Rican coffee is sweet and creamy and often doesn’t need additives like sugar or cream to go down smoothly. We’ve compiled a list of the best Puerto Rican coffee brands that should be in your kitchen.
1. Volcanica Coffee
Volcanica Coffee’s Hacienda San Pedro is hand-picked and sun-dried for optimal quality. This medium roast is chocolatey with a spicy kick.
Because this coffee is produced in small batches, it’s pretty expensive but well worth the investment. We recommend this brand for true coffee aficionados who can appreciate the time and effort that goes into each bean.
2. Alto Grande
Alto Grande bills itself as the “coffee of popes and kings.” This is one of the oldest coffee brands on the island, dating back to 1834, before the US annexation. So, the process for making this coffee has a long and rich history, which is one of the reasons why it’s so good.
This brand is pretty big, so bags of beans or coffee grounds are much more affordable. You also have many different options, including individual single-serve packets, decaf, and instant coffee. However, if you want the best flavor possible, we recommend buying the beans and grinding them yourself.
3. Café Don Ruiz
If you visit Puerto Rico, you can stop at Café Don Ruiz and order a cup of coffee while basking in the sun and watching people go by. However, if you want a taste of the island at home, you can order batches of either beans or coffee grounds.
This coffee isn’t quite as rich or bold as other brands, but it still maintains the sweet smoothness of all Puerto Rican coffees. The café sources and prepares the beans in-house; you can tell they love what they do. These beans are also surprisingly affordable, but they’re not always available, so be sure to grab a bag when you can.
This brew is citrusy and fruity, with a touch of chocolate. Another reason we like Café Don Ruiz is that the beans are so versatile. You can make black coffee or have a lighter cup with milk and sugar, but the sweetness of the beans means you don’t need much to make your cup taste even better.
4. Café Yaucono
As with Alto Grande, Café Yaucono is one of the island’s oldest and most well-known coffee brands. Since 1896, Yaucono has been perfecting its roasting methods, and the company offers a wide selection of coffee types. You can get medium roasts, dark roasts, and even individual coffee pods.
Even though Yaucono is quite a big brand, it still tastes like something you’d discover at a local coffee shop. The tasting notes are mild and smooth; each cup can brighten your day without being too bitter or acidic. Although Yaucono’s ground coffee is affordable, we recommend paying a little more for the original beans so you can experience the full flavor of this coffee, just as it would have been more than 120 years ago.
5. Café Oro
Café Oro is notable for both its packaging and flavor. As one of the younger brands on this list, Café Oro doesn’t enjoy over a century of refinement. However, it’s still more than 50 years old, so it’s not like a new business.
The packaging is designed to protect the freshness of the beans or coffee grounds for as long as possible. There are even degassing valves, so you don’t expose the coffee to too much oxygen at once. Depending on your preferences, you can buy beans, grounds, or instant coffee.
6. Café Crema
With almost 100 years in the business, Café Crema knows more than a thing or two about coffee. Founded by Don José “Pepe” Garrido Morales and his wife, Matilde Alonso, in 1925, Café Crema has grown to become one of the most prominent Puerto Rican coffee brands.
The classic medium roast is smooth and rich, with almost no bitterness. As the brand name suggests, it has a creamy profile, so there’s no need to add creamers or milk.
7. Café Rico
Dating back to 1924, Café Rico is for those who love strong coffee. The brand prioritizes bold flavors, but you don’t have to sacrifice your sleep. You can choose decaf or even a 50/50 blend comprised of decaffeinated coffee and regular coffee.
You can also opt for whole-bean coffee, ground, or instant coffee, so there is something for everyone. The classic medium-dark roast has a rich yet smooth flavor.
8. Café La Finca
Café La Finca is for true coffee snobs. The coffee is carefully picked by hand to ensure only the best coffee is harvested.
It is grown in mountainous regions of Jayuya, allowing the beans to develop more slowly and impart a sweeter flavor. The brand uses the same tried-and-true methods from 100 years ago when processing the coffee, providing an authentic Puerto Rican brew.
The medium-dark roast is robust but low in acidity. The coffee is packaged daily, and customers can taste the freshness within their first brew.
9. Café Lareño
For those who want to support the underdog, Café Lareño could be the brand for you. This family business has humble origins, dating back to 1989 when Luis E. Alcover and his wife, Vilma Rodríguez, initially began roasting 35 pounds of coffee at a time. After trial and error, they created the perfect roast and began selling door to door, the rest is history.
After being harvested from the mountain town of Lares, much of the coffee is sun-dried, fostering the fruiter notes in the beans. You can find whole-bean or ground coffee. The first thing customers notice about Café Lareño is the delicious aroma; the second is the top-notch taste.
10. Café Hacienda San Pedro
Café Hacienda San Pedro is arguably the best of the best. The coffee is processed in small batches, so while it might be pricer than other Puerto Rican coffee brands, the quality is worth it.
This mountain-grown coffee is sun-dried and hand-picked. To make it even more special, it is an AA-grade peaberry coffee, meaning the coffee cherry produced one large, circular bean rather than two flat ones. Peaberry coffee is sweeter with more complex flavor notes, making this brand perfect for the most devoted coffee connoisseurs.