Our adventure began in 2010, when we happened upon an advertisement for a large, abandoned, colonial-era coffee farm located in the remote, rural town of Maricao, known as La Cuidad del Café (“The City of Coffee.”) Maricao Is nestled high in the Cordillera Central, a mountainous, tropical rainforest, and the best coffee-producing region of Puerto Rico.
Our farm, historically known as Finca La Guava, was in its hay day one of the island’s largest high-quality, Arabica coffee farms. According to local lore, Don Moises Espinoza received the farmland as a gift from the king of Spain in the early 19th century.
On our first visit to the farm, we walked the property that once was a grand coffee plantation, and were able to visualize what Don Moises must have seen on his daily walks, Beneath the rainforest canopy, the mountainsides were terraced for growing coffee. But Mother Nature had long since reclaimed her stunning tropical paradise, and the terraces had mostly crumbled.
Finca La Guava - the revival of a Puerto Rico coffee plantation
Finding the original hacienda foundation overgrown with 15-foot grass and a large royal palm growing in the middle, we realized that bringing the farm back to its original grandeur would be a long-term project. Upon seeing the farm’s breathtaking views, and feeling its delicate Caribbean breezes, we fell in love with Finca La Guava, and the project would henceforth become a labor of love.
According to legend, Finca La Guava plantation started growing 100% Arabica coffee in 1820 under Don Moises Espinoza’s direction. From the 1820s through the late 1950s, Finca La Guava was one of the island’s largest and best producing, high-grade Arabica farms. It even had its own public school for workers’ children. By the end of the 1950s, the farm had fallen into disrepair. With its roughly 140, lush, fertile cuerdas (roughly one acre), Finca La Guava was completely overtaken by jungle when we first saw it.
Visualizing the opportunity to bring Finca La Guava back to its original splendor, we purchased the property, and set forth to re-establish a world-class coffee plantation under a tropical rain forest canopy. And so began Puerto Rico Coffee Company was born.