Guest Author - Gayle E. Santana
The financial crisis has us all in survival mode. I am no different. When I saw a coffee can in my local warehouse store boasting 360 cups, I grabbed it. “At least I won’t have to worry about coffee for the next year,” I thought. What I didn’t realize is that over the past year my palate had become a bit more discerning. Grinding beans, cupping, using a French press and tasting some of the finest coffees in the world will do that to you. I sipped my first cup from the industrial-sized can and thought, “Wow. It’s going to be a long year.”
I recently got a reprieve from this long year of bad coffee when a friend gifted me with El Jibarito, a coffee from Puerto Rico. My morning begins with rote routine--hit the coffee maker switch, unload the dishwasher, pull out my cup, get the evaporated milk--no wait—what is that smell? Not believing my nose, I walked toward the coffee maker inhaling deeply. I should not have been surprised really. When I opened the shiny golden vacuum pack, I should have known I had a jewel. I saw beautiful sienna-colored packed coffee which immediately made me think of brown sugar.
The pleasure continued to my couch. I loved the great flavor that was as rich and flavorful as the color and smell. One could say that my pleasure was only due to the fact that I had been drinking bad coffee. Not so because as I sit here, I am now at the end of the 10 ounce pack and each day was as beautiful as the first and the coffee stayed fresh and moist too; no staleness here.
El Jibarito is stamped as a specialty coffee. “The definition of Specialty Coffee should begin at the origin of coffee and the planting of a particular variety in a particular region of the world. The Department of Agriculture certifies and regulates Specialty Coffee production in Puerto Rico. Specialty coffees may be identified by the certification seal. Some varieties of Arabica are clearly capable of producing Specialty Coffee - a coffee bean that has no defects, balanced, and consistent flavor and aromas. Therefore, Specialty Coffee has a distinctive character in the cup.” El Jibarito has surpassed this definition in my book.
In my search for where the coffee could be purchased, I found that the coffee farm is also the site of a resort. According to the website, “Hacienda el Jibarito is an innovating project in Puerto Rico, unique in its class. Together with the tourism Company and the department of agriculture, it offers two interesting worlds to our visitors; tourism and agriculture.”
Looking at the photos provided on the site, like its coffee, it looks luxuriously delicious and yet tranquil and rustic. The prices are also very reasonable. Sounds like a trip right up my alley.
As of this writing, I have not discovered where I could purchase the delicious coffee but I will update here and in the forum as soon as possible. If I have to travel to Puerto Rico and stay at the resort to get my yearlong supply, I will. What a sacrifice. NOT!
Hacienda El Jibarito
Puerto Rico: Cup of Old San Juan