Puerto Rican coffee is generally average to good
Production is relatively small at approximately 125,000 bags in
2008 according to USDA data - go to www.usda.gov. The same data place
the average off-farm sales value in that year at about US $ 2.67/lb
- this is very substantially above the ICO's Other Mild
Only wet processed arabica is produced - the main varieties are
Typica, Bourbon, Mundo Nuevo and Caturra. In terms of the ICO
rankings we would place Puerto Rican coffee in the Other Milds
Most of Puerto Rico's output is consumed locally. In fact the
demand generated by the approximately 3.9 million inhabitants of
this island (approx. size 9,000 km²) exceeds local production
considerably. As a result Puerto Rican coffee hardly features in
the international green coffee trade.
However, there are roasted coffee exports to the US Mainland,
mostly to the (large) Puerto Rican community that resides there but
in recent years also to the specialty trade as a whole.
If Puerto Rican coffee of good quality were to become more
regularly available for export we would suggest it would encounter
steady demand. However, the cost of production is (very) high
because Puerto Rico conforms to US employment and wage standards.
This, together with high domestic prices, probably places this
coffee out of reach for most of the international market.
But, there appears to be potential in the US specialty segment.
* The International Coffee Organization (www.ico.org) publishes daily
indicator prices for different groups of coffee, based on quality:
Colombian mild arabicas, Other mild arabicas, Brazilian and other
natural arabicas, and Robustas. It also publishes a Composite
indicator that aggregates the daily movements in the price of
coffee. See section 01.04 of The Coffee Guide for more on this.
Posted 15 May 2009