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// By Jessica van Dop DeJesus
By Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Most Puerto Ricans start their day with a little cafecito. Coffee cultivation has been taking place for centuries on the island, with families passing along the traditions from generation to generation. And the Cordillera Central, the mountain range located in the center of the island, makes for the perfect location to cultivate coffee beans with its altitude and weather.
Coffee shops across the island offer delicious coffee, and visiting them makes for a scenic road trip along the lush green mountains or the colorful plazas. These 10 locations are not only some of the best locally-owned coffee shops in Puerto Rico, but they’re also an experience and a window to Puerto Rican culture.
Hacienda San Pedro — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Located in the bustling Avenida Jose de Diego in San Juan, Hacienda San Pedro is one of the most popular coffee shops in the capital. It’s owned and managed by Rebecca Atienza, one of the descendants of Emeterio Atienza who arrived in Puerto Rico from Spain at the end of the 19th century.
Beyond the coffee shop in San Juan, you can learn more about Puerto Rican coffee by visiting their Hacienda, nestled in the mountain town of Jayuya.
Torrefacion Cafe Mayor — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Head south to the city of Ponce to Torrefacción Café Mayor. Tucked into Calle Mayor, one of the streets in the charming center of Ponce, is the tiny coffee shop owned by Luis E. Valldejuly Sastre, who comes from a family of coffee producers.
Inside his cozy shop, you can find freshly roasted Puerto Rican coffee beans. Can’t wait to get home for a cup of coffee? Go next door to 19 Barrios, a pizza restaurant also owned by Valldejuly Sastre where they serve Café Mayor.
Hacienda La Mocha — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Coffee with a view? Yes, please! Hacienda La Mocha is a gorgeous coffee farm and guesthouse nestled in the mountains of Ponce on the border of the scenic towns of Utuado and Jayuya. This locally-owned and operated restaurant is open on weekends, offering local coffee and tours of their coffee farm.
Having a cup of coffee with a view of the southern coast of Puerto Rico is worth the drive!
Cappuccino at La Vida, Guayama — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
The town square of the southern Guayama is consistently voted one of the most beautiful on the island with its vibrant colonial architecture. La Vida, a bustling coffee shop, is located in one of the side streets of the famous town square.
They have expert baristas who prepare coffees that are deliciously photogenic. Arrive hungry: their pastry and breakfast menu is also worth ordering.
Café Lareño — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Can you make a whole day trip out of exploring coffee shops in Puerto Rico? Absolutely! Café Lareño is a must-see on the list. Sitting on the side of the mountain in the town of Lares, this cafe offers spectacular vistas.
Take in a stunning view of the center of the island while sampling a fresh cup of locally-produced Puerto Rican coffee. From the classic cortado to more elaborate creations, there’s something for everyone.
A post shared by Hacienda El Jibarito (@hacienda_el_jibarito) on
With its rolling hills, waterfalls and lush vegetation, San Sebastian is one of the most picturesque towns in Puerto Rico. Nestled in the mountains is Casa Café Torrefacción at Hacienda El Jibarito.
This beautiful coffee shop not only offers rich, locally-produced coffee, but it also provides a tour and a class on coffee production. Bonus: you can spend the weekend at their hotel.
Ricomini Mayaguez — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
With more than 100 years in business, Ricomini is an institution on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Serving locally-produced Alto Grande coffee, it’s the perfect place to stop for a hot cortado with a slice of their famous “brazo gitano,” a jelly roll filled with sweet guava jelly.
Its bakery setting is casual and gives visitors a glimpse of a traditional Puerto Rican panadería (bakery).
Café Carajillo — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Yauco is known as “el pueblo del café” (the town of the coffee), since they produce coffee in their northern, mountainous sectors. Carajillo Coffee House is a fun stop on your way to explore this southern town. Not only do they make exquisite cappuccinos with Yauco’s own Gustos Coffee, but also make sure to try some of their decadent pastries.
Starbene Caffe — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Starbene Caffe is a mix of the local and the Italian. This modern coffee shop located in the posh Mall of San Juan uses locally-produced beans and roasts them Italian style. Indulge in a ristretto prepared by Puerto Rican barista Joseph Quiñones, a “Q Grader,” which means he’s an expert in the handling and preparing of specialty coffee.
Have a sip of your cafecito on their ample patio with a stunning view of San Juan.
Starbene Caffe, 1000 The Mall of San Juan Blvd, San Juan, Website
Gustos Cafe — Photo courtesy of Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Located in the hip Miramar neighborhood in San Juan, Gustos Café is an establishment in the local Puerto Rican coffee scene. Gustos produces their coffee in Yauco and distributes it to many other coffee shops throughout the island. They also believe in giving back; they head the Gustos Coffee Foundation which helps local coffee farmers recover after the devastation of Hurricane María.
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About Jessica van Dop DeJesus
Jessica van Dop DeJesus is the author of the book The Dining Traveler Guide to Puerto Rico.
Read more about Jessica van Dop DeJesus here.
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