Cafe Yaucono memories

This is my first time blogging so we’ll see how it goes. I have to thank Juancito for pestering me to guest write – his plan is to get me so hyped up that I will start my own. So, why am I using the name Yaucono for blogging? For all you coffee-philes out there, I hope you will appreciate this story. You may remember the time, years ago, when a strong, delicious cup of coffee was virtually non-existent in the U.S. of A.

 

Café Yaucono is one of the few coffees grown and produced in Puerto Rico. It is not exported though, only consumed locally. Although who knows, you may find a bodega in New York City that secretly carries Yaucono next to its Ron Don Q.

 

Anyway, it has a special place in my heart. Back in the 90’s – those old college days – you could not find a cup of decent coffee anywhere in the now infamous town of Durham, North Carolina. I was eighteen when I first left the warm embrace of my family and the morning Yaucono aroma. Although my Puerto Rican jibara naivete is fodder for so many other stories, I would say my first big blooper was to forget to pack Yaucono coffee on that first trip to college. I spent the entire semester barely awake on what Puerto Ricans call “agua de piringa” or water mixed with dirt.

 

Of course, after four long months of culture shock and Yaucono deprivation, I began packing Yaucono in my suitcases every Christmas, Spring, and Summer break. I emptied out the shelves at Pueblo or Amigo supermarkets as if Puerto Rico was suddenly going to run out of these precious beans.

 

Years later, when I could find Bustelo, Pilon, and the other Yaucono imitators on the supermarket shelves, I ceased to fill my suitcases with my precious coffee.

 

And then, as I was looking for links for this blog, since I understand that’s one of my key responsibilities, I found that you can actually get Yaucono online! You see, I am a jibara at heart; I had never looked.

 

Back to the blog name – Yaucono kept me awake, aware, soothed, and rooted in my culture and values in the midst of the most unsettling experience of my young life – not just the transition to college, but the transition to what was then an extremely alien culture. Hopefully, a Yaucono blog will remind me to approach topics with serenity instead of shock (good luck!).

 

And yes, there are other more important matters that catch my attention – and passion – pretty regularly. So, the next post will contain some of that chatter.

 http://www.puertorico-herald.org/issues2/2005/vol09n23/CBGourmetCof.shtml

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13 thoughts on “Cafe Yaucono memories

  1. I hate to be the one to have to clarify your misconception that: “Café Yaucono is one of the few coffees grown and produced in Puerto Rico.”
    This statement can’t be fully substantiate anymore. You see… it has been found that today’s Yaucono and most other big brands that claim to be Puerto Rico Coffee is coffee mixed with cheap beans from other countries. Because of the crop shortfalls the government has had to relax some of the restrictions and allow them to augment their production with imported coffee to keep up with demand. In so doing they have in fact adulterated the flavor that made Puerto Rico Coffee famous and have damaged the reputation that small farmers worked so hard to preserve. They are in fact deceiving the public because the labels read Puerto Rico Coffee when in fact it isn’t. They go to wherever they can buy cheap coffee beans and sell it as Puerto Rico Coffee. I’d like you to be aware that at http://www.cafedepr.com we are working with small farmers to correct this problem and repair the damage that has been done to the Puerto Rico Coffee industry by big roasters.

  2. I want to agree with John. It is true that Cafe Yaucono, is not grown in Puerto Rico. For one the company was recntly sold to some puerto rican american who live in Florida and secondly it is way to expensive to harvest. They find it cheaper to import then to harvest it. Every year puerto rioc has an auction in whihc the government buys coffee beans from the cheapest seller to be able to provide the consumers of the island. The auction this year was won by domincan republic, so the majority of the coffee that the people are drinking this year comes from D.R. The years prior to that it came from Mexico. I know all this because my brother in law is the broker involved in the sale of coffee to the government of puerto rico and my family own coffee farms abroad. Cafe Yaucono will never be the same, it has new owners, the island doesnt grow enough coffee so they are forced to buy beans from other countries.

  3. the complaints that cafe yaucono is falsesly marketed as puerto rican reminds me of cuban complaints that the Bacardi brand has been approprated by Puerto Rico.

  4. I was sent to PR to do a computer network job. My first time on this island. ( I grew up in the Pacific rim Islands) Being used to hotel coffee which is like mud with sap YUCK !! .
    I sent my partner to the lobby to find a starbucks. I went and took a shower… I arrive from my shower to find the greatist cup of coffee I think I have ever had. I asked ” what flavor is this so I can order it again?” she said its house coffee I said really? ..
    Needless to say I bought as much as I could carry to bring home and now I cant go to starbucks as this is the only coffee I can drink. Yaucono is THE BEST and my thanks for allowing me to buy it online……

  5. I’ll defer to those who know more than I about the decline of Yaucono. When I want the real thing I drive to Adjuntas where you can still see the harvest and preparation of the beans. I buy my coffee there. It’s heavenly, and about $18 a pound.

  6. i recently buy a farm in honduras and i grow cofe , how can i export my cofe to usa, pr, ect.. who do i have to contact , or how can i get some contacts, i will apreciate if i can get some help

  7. I was spooooo disappinted when I found out that my delicious puertorican coffee I grew up on had beans coming from other countries.
    I would tell people: “nothing like our coffees”
    . I can’t understand how puertoricans in America can drink that awfull tasting bustelo & every other odd tasting coffee.
    Lucky I live in FL & I can buy Yaucono fresh just like I was in Puerto Rico. I also grew up on cafe Crema & Cafe Rico, but mostly I grew up on my grandfathers coffee. He had his own crop, my grandmother roasted it, and I used to grind it. And as soon as we where done my grandmother made a fresh pot of coffee. Now that was authentic.
    Now I swicth w/yaucono & maxuel house (colombian). It’s a median roast so it’s not as bitter as French roast.
    Sorry I’m into good tasting coffee. We had coffee 15 hours a day.

  8. Are you a female? I asked because you referred to your “jibara” naivete. If you are a male, you would have “jibaro” naivete.

    You used the term, “bodega” .This term is not used for grocery stores in Puerto Rico unless the owners are non-Puerto Rican. The correct term is “colmado”.

    Other than the above, this is a great blog!

    I am an absolute Yaucono junkie!!

  9. i loved the post….but sadden to find out that yaucono is not harvestesd completly in puerto rico……i am from yauco so the name has so much more meaning………!!!!!!!

  10. Just left Puerto Rico and its wonderful coffee yesterday. Bought bags and bags of Youcano for friends and could give a rats ass if its beans have foreign ones added. The bottom line is that the coffee is still the best anywhere.

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