In an effort to promote the recovery and growth of the coffee industry in Puerto Rico, Nespresso has reaffirmed its commitment to revive the island's coffee sector with its first coffee called Cafecito de Puerto Rico for American consumers.
This extremely rare and limited edition coffee highlights the naturally earthly appearance of Puerto Rican coffee beans.
A little bit of history
Coffee production in Puerto Rico began to see a gradual expansion during the mid-nineteenth century, but it was in the 1870s when it experienced an accelerated increase in its production and worldwide sales.
A decade later, coffee exports reported $13.9 million and constituted 77% of the total value of exports. At the time, Puerto Rico was one of the largest coffee exporters in America.
That era was baptized as the "golden age" of coffee in Puerto Rico. However, the coffee boom ended in 1897. The high prices that had characterized the global exchanges of the product gave way that year, due to a situation of global overproduction.
Several efforts have emerged to help the coffee industry, which has been struggling for many years.
In 2015, The Puerto Rican Barista Team was created to unite baristas, shop owners, roasters and fans by providing a platform whose focus is to advance the coffee industry.
Elsewhere, the Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Island's Agricultural Extension Service, founded La Taza de Oro in 2014, a competition that aims to reward the coffee farm with the best products and practices on the island.
The coffee harvest in Puerto Rico was almost completely destroyed with the passage of Hurricane Maria through the island on September 20, 2017, tearing off the plants and destroying the red coffee seeds.
The damage was devastating for that industry, with almost 20 million coffee trees being destroyed and estimated damages totaling $18 million for the producers.
The reasons behind the recent decline in production are many and farmers are concerned that there are few solutions.
Among the challenges facing the industry is the fact that the island no longer produces as before and has the difficult task of finding hands that work in the fields so that the crops are not lost.
Currently, Puerto Rico serves only 6 percent of the demand for coffee in the country, compared with 83 percent it used to do 20 years ago.
Since 2018, Nespresso has been working with the Hispanic Federation, an organization composed of 100 Latin nonprofit organizations that provide direct services in a wide range of areas, and coffee producers in Puerto Rico to help revitalize their coffee harvest, committing to $1 million as part of a three-year initiative.
The initiative’s goal is to reach 1,500 farmers in Puerto Rico through field training and agronomic and business skills tutoring that will help farmers improve the quality and quantity of their crops and increase their income.
To support revitalization efforts, actor, director, producer and filmmaker George Clooney and acclaimed Puerto Rican playwright and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda joined forces with Nespresso and the Hispanic Federation to champion the importance of coffee farming in Puerto Rico and spotlight the transformative power coffee can have on farmer livelihoods, communities, and the island's revitalization efforts.
"Coffee is vital to the economy and the rich and vibrant culture of Puerto Rico," says Guillaume Le Cunff, President and CEO of Nespresso USA.
Consumers who donate to the Hispanic Federation before October 27 will not only have first access to the Cafecito de Puerto Rico, but each dollar donated will help plant a new coffee plantation on the island.
"Puerto Rico still needs our help and tremendous work will be needed by public and private organizations to ensure that efforts in the field have a significant and lasting impact," said José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation. "We are satisfied with the progress we are making, but it is only the beginning.
Contributions to the Hispanic Federation will support the organization's efforts to plant 2.25 million new coffee trees in Puerto Rico.
Starting in November, Nespresso consumers can further support these efforts by simply recycling their capsules using a limited edition recycling bag. Each recycling bag in Puerto Rico represents a new coffee plant that will be planted on the island. To celebrate coffee, culture and art in Puerto Rico, the bag features an original design entitled Inspiration of Puerto Rican artist Gerardo Cloquell.
Nespresso capsules are made of aluminum because it is the best material to preserve the freshness and quality of coffees, and can be recycled repeatedly. For more information, visit the Nespresso website: www.nestle-nespresso.com.
Nespresso’s efforts in Puerto Rico are part of the Reviving Origins brand program, which focuses on helping restore high-quality coffee production in regions around the world that are in danger due to political conflicts, economic difficulties or disasters environmental.