Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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In the meantime, Kali says, the Beans for PR initiative has made her feel connected to the coffee world beyond the island. "It also helped me see how people within this commu- nity are so eager to help and lend a hand. Café Regina hadn't even been operating for one full year before we were forced to close for two and a half months. This is my fi rst business and I am still very young, so this put me in a very scary situation." Café Regina is one of the more new-school cafés to have opened up in addition to Baraka, with Café Comunión another entering the scene in early 2018. These are shops that want to serve high-quality Puerto Rican coffee alongside roasters from around the world in order to educate the coffee-drinking commu- nity on what exists beyond the more severely roasted commercial blends with which the island is associated. "The kind of varieties that have bigger yields and lower quality—that's what the government tells [farmers] to grow, and since the government is selling them the cof- fee trees, they always pick certain varieties and they're not necessarily the varieties that are native to Puerto Rico and they're not necessarily the varieties that have the best taste and quality," Gabriel explains. "We're a little farther away from the equator, so what you can get in Colombia at 6,000 feet you can get in Puerto Rico at 3,000 feet, as far as the development of the bean and the acidity and all those things. We can produce really good coffee. I know people who are old-school and focus on the variety, but those are very few. Maybe it would take a bigger effort on the government's part to incentivize those farmers who are about quality." Going forward, once the crops have recovered, steadily proving there's a mar- ket for specialty roasts will be the key to getting Puerto Rican coffee on the world's radar and sustaining a coffee culture on the island—with or without the government's help. "Smaller roasters like us and oth- ers have to ask for the product," Gabriel says, "because it's a risk for farmers to go through all that trouble." Global &RՔHH7RXU 7KHGHÀQLWLYH JXLGHWRFRՔHH WDVWLQJDURXQG WKHZRUOG shop.lonelyplanet.com AND WHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD Roberto Atienza surveys the fallen coff ee trees at his family estate, Hacienda San Pedro. PHOTO BY JOSE MADERA 81 www.baristamagazine.com

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