AN INTRODUCTION TO YAUCO SELECTO ESTATE COFFEE
Over 250 years ago, a few coffee trees were firs introduced to the island of Puerto Rico. At the time, coffee was mostly a Caribbean crop in the new Continent. Many changes have occurred since. One thing has remained the same, the quality of coffee obtained from the top farms in Puerto Rico is unrivaled in the coffee industry. Yauco Selecto's unique taste has made this Caribbean island a favorite among true coffee connoisseurs. The limited availability of this coffee (1994-5 crop - 3,000 bags), makes this offering an important opportunity for roasters concerned with offering a full selection of the world's top coffees.
Yauco Selecto offers an opportunity for forward thinking roasters to differentiate by offering a rare treasure.
Yauco Selecto is the latest expression (exported since 1990) of Puerto Rico's well developed coffee tradition. Our history is closely tied to the history of this Caribbean island. First brought in 1736, the Spanish immigrants who settled on the island relegated coffee to a secondary role for the most part of the 18th century. At the time, the fertile valleys were their main concern and sugar and the crops were the order of the day. During the early part of the 19th century, events in Europe forced a migration of residents from the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. They arrived to Puerto Rico and were quickly told that if they wanted to farm, they would have to go to the highlands for all the valleys were taken by the Spanish immigrants. They settled in the Southwestern Mountains of the island, mostly around a town called Yauco. Hard work and determination was rewarded when they brought forth the idea of growing coffee in these high mountains.
By the 1860s they dominated the coffee industry on the island and then made two important decisions that would affect the course of their history. The first, a patriarch of the Mariani family converted a cotton gin for use in the dehusking of coffee. This represented a significant improvement in appearance and an opportunity to stand out in the international coffee market. The second, the Corsican leaders gathered and agreed to finance a tall ship voyage for two representatives to visit the important European coffee buying centers. This visit to Europe marked an important stage in their development, as quickly, European coffee buyers gave their coffee rave reviews.
Puertorrican coffee, particularly from the Yauco region, received a premium price all over Europe and by the 1890s represented a standard of excellence in production that many other countries sought to imitate. The island's production was the sixth largest in the world, and the fruit of those high lands that the Corsicans brought to life, was the pick of the crop. Yauco Selecto's owners trace their origin to this period. This same coffee was sold to Kings and Queens all throughout Europe. Even the Pope bought coffee from a Caribbean Mountain Coffee partner under the San Carlos name. Most importantly, cafes in Vienna, Madrid, London and Paris featured the coffee by name. This happened 100 years before the development of what we know today as the specialty coffee industry.
The year 1898 was of great importance to Puerto Rico and particularly to our coffee industry. The Spanish American War between Spain and the United States quickly changed the course of our history forever. When all was settled, Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico were ceded to the United States as territories. This marked the end of Spanish rule in Puerto Rico after over 400 years. The newly established colonial power, the United States, inherited what at the time was a very strong coffee industry in Puerto Rico. Two devastating hurricanes hit Puerto Rico during 1898. The hurricanes destroyed the coffee industry. Farmers needed to wait two years to begin seeing the crop return to its normal level. During this time, it was evident that the United States was interested in Puerto Rico (along with Cuba and the Philippines) for its sugar production. Tariffs gave coffee in Puerto Rico a severe blow as European nations no longer allowed our coffee to come in as a colonial product. The United States had a long standing agreement to buy the bulk of its coffee from Brazil. Market opportunities for our coffee were quickly drying up.
The first half of the 20th century was a difficult but important period for Puerto Rico's coffee industry. The traditional agrarian society that dominated Puerto Rico's economy was moving away from coffee. Sugar became king. At the same time, the United States began efforts to diversify the economy of the island. By 1917 all Puertorricans were granted full U.S. citizenship. The integration into the U.S. economy changed the focus of our exports. Even with all of these obstacles, the best coffee was still being produced by the top farms on the island. Our partners continued exports (albeit on a more limited basis) to Europe. A new market developed at the time. Cuba emerged as a predominant power in the Caribbean. Cuba became one of Puerto Rico's most important coffee clients.
The second half of this century has brought with it the modernization of the Puertorrican economy. Pharmaceuticals, computers, high electronics, tourism, and professional services dominate the economy. The standards of living and education have been drastically improved. Throughout these changes, coffee has remained in production on the island. From 1965 to 1990, 100% of the coffee crop was consumed only in Puerto Rico. The main reason behind the coffee's strong survival is the quality of the product, the support of the government, and a strong local market. Due to the close ties to the United States, growing coffee in Puerto Rico is a high cost operation. Just like Hawaii Kona, Puerto Rico's labor cost reflect U.S. Government standards. Environmental policies in effect in Puerto Rico also increase production costs. Yauco Selecto is proud to offer the top living conditions available in the coffee industry.
The development of a strong international specialty coffee industry has allowed the return to export of Puerto Rico's top coffee, Yauco Selecto. In the last five years, we have established relationships with specialty coffee roasters in over 17 countries around the world. Once again, Puerto Rico's finest coffee export is making news around the world.
WHAT MAKES YAUCO SELECTO ESTATE COFFEE SPECIAL
1) The Taste - The bean offers a full bodied experience, with a creamy almost buttery taste and an arresting aftertaste. A hint of chocolate undertones completes the experience. Yauco Selecto is best when roasted at a full city level (right at the second crack of the beans in the roaster). The even roast of the beans displays the care involved in the preparation.
2) A true estate coffee - Our coffee hails from two farms (Hacienda San Pedro and Hacienda Santa Ana) in the Southwestern Mountains of Puerto Rico. It has been recognized as one of the leading estate coffees in the world for it embodies the concept of a coffee that is planted, nurtured, grown, cultivated, processed, and exported, never leaving the hands of the partners involved. The result of one group being involved at all steps of the process is a reliably superior and consistent cup. Roasters can trust that when buying Yauco Selecto, they will be enjoying the same experience time after time. Our careful monitoring and selection process ensures this.
3) The reason behind the cup qualities - The cup qualities of Yauco Selecto are due to a number of factors, among them are:
4) Healthy beans grown by healthy hands - The coffee is not only hand picked, but its also carefully monitored throughout all stages of processing. Always, the health and working conditions of the farm workers are at the forefront. As U.S. citizens, our employees earn a fair wage and enjoy safe, government-monitored working conditions. Our environmental practices include a strict erosion control program, natural fertilization, and an innovative water recycling system at the wet beneficio.
1) Harrod's of London, England's premier department store chose it as one of eight coffees to be listed in its coffee bar as Rare Estate Grown Coffees.
2) Balducci's of New York, the most recognized specialty food store in New York City uses it to headline its Estate Coffee section of the store.
3) The Wine Spectator, America's most important wine publication chose it among the world's top ten coffees.
4) Phillipe Jobin, France's most recognized coffee writer and importer, wrote that it was" one of the best crus (green coffee) in the world, if not the best..."
5) It has been featured three years in a row at the Ban de Vandages at Chateau Cos d'Estornel and the Chapitre de L'Equinoze at Chateau du Clos de Vougeot. These are France's most important wine celebrations.
6) Featured at El Corte InglÚs, Spain's leading department store.
7) Chosen by Salvador Sans, roaster to the King of Spain, for his Les Must collection. This collection also featured Hawaii Kona anal Blue Mountain from Jamaica.
8) Featured in The Coffee Companion (the recent bestseller coffee guide) as "one of the best coffees in the world". It gave Yauco Selecto a 3 star rating (excellent), the highest grade they grant for coffee.
9) Received a Recognition to Quality Award from the American Tasting Institute.
Yauco Selecto has received press coverage around the world, including:
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