Let's start from the beginning, the definition.
A microclimate is a particular climate that occurs in an area whose general climatic characteristics are different, that is, it differs significantly from the surrounding ecosystem, although it only occurs in relatively small and specific areas.
Why do we highlight microclimates in coffee and in Puerto Rico?
Very simple... It has always been said that altitude is an indicator that the coffee will have great quality because at higher altitudes the temperatures are lower, therefore the beans ripens without stress and with more sugars. If we compare Puerto Rico with countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, which are countries with heights above 1,200 meters above sea level, we clearly are in a disadvantage because our highest peak is 2,000 meters above sea level and there is no coffee planted at the moment.
However, the fact that we do not have high altitudes does not mean that we cannot have the same or better quality coffee than countries with high altitudes. Here come the famous microclimates of Puerto Rico and our distance from the Equator.
Talking with the young coffee farmer Remy Rodriguez, he comments:
At a higher latitude north and/or south of the Equator we can have the same conditions than countries that are near the Equator even though they have more altitude. In South and Central America you will find farms at 1,400 to 2,000 meters above sea level. In Puerto Rico we are below 1,000 meters and still have very similar microclimates. The height becomes something relative, what we really want are low temperatures to achieve specialty coffee.
It is important to know that altitude now in days is not everything. The planning of the coffee plantations plays a big role Today the practice of agroforestry helps to maintain low temperatures and thus not stress the coffee plant so that it ripens with the greatest amount of sugars. The microclimates are In some way responsible of the atributes of coffee by certain regions. Puerto Rican coffee has in general, good aroma, low acidity and the perfect balance between sweet and bitter. You'll find notes like, chocolate, cocoa, citric, plums and other dried fruits.
We hope this has helped you to learn more about the production of coffee in Puerto Rico. Below you'll see some recommendations from three different regions. Try and compare!
Coffee Mireia de Yauco
Café Aromas del Campo Gourmet from Utuado
Café Abuelo Domingo from Hacienda La Mocha in Ponce