• QA 220
    How does the market appreciate Puerto Rican coffee?
    What are the views on and how does the market appreciate coffee produced in Puerto Rico?
    Asked by:
    Extension agent - Puerto Rico

    Puerto Rican coffee is generally average to good quality.


    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 Indicator*.

    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 Group*.

    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



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