|My daughter took this photo of my son-in-law and I picking through rubble...|
|No fossils found... DRATS!|
|The Hacienda Pomarrosa|
|Bees Hard at Work|
While we enjoyed one cup, or maybe two... Kurt, the coffee farmer himself, led us through the history of coffee from its very beginning in Ethiopia and then moved to Arabia, which grew the beans now known as Arabica.
|Kurt giving us the low-down on the history of coffee in the world!|
|There's no "wrong" way to enjoy banana bread dipped in fresh coffee!|
After the history lesson, and a Q&A session, we were done with our coffee and ready to take a stroll among the coffee and banana trees. Bottom line is this: Hurricane Maria nearly wiped out the coffee industry in Puerto Rico. But prior to that, the growers were already in a bit of trouble with government regulations and price caps. The workers needed to work the plantations, harvest and process the beans just are not here, for any wage.
|One of the few healthy adult coffee trees left after Maria|
|Coffee trees of various ages grow on the manicured slopes in the high altitudes|
|This nursery represents the future for this farmer. He has sprouted new trees from the seeds of his former crops.|
|We were invited to taste these bananas, grown amongst the coffee bushes. Delicious!|
|Some of the new trees provided by the government|
|Flowering bushes mean coffee beans in the future!|
|There were no beans on the bushes because harvest season begins around October and runs through the winter months.|
|I swear we were being stalked by this rooster!|
|Kurt's comment: The good thing about the Maria is that with the trees all gone, we have a view of the Caribbean!|
|Nice view of Cerro de Punta - the highest point in Puerto Rico at 3,494 ft elevation|
|Kurt was kind in answering all of our many questions.|
|This is another of a small group of trees that survived Maria. Lots of flowers here!|
Kurt told us that it has been so dry lately that many of the trees are still waiting to be planted. They can't dig holes through the hard, dry soil.
The trees are somewhat sickly looking and many of those already planted have sickened and died. It's not looking great for the coffee industry in Puerto Rico.
We moved into the production buildings where Kurt described the process. He had only a few beans from past crops to use since it's not harvest season currently. The processing of coffee is very similar to that of chocolate, so we were familiar with the drill.
|The final sorting of beans is still done by hand here.|
|Roasting is the last step! We bought a half pound and can't wait to try it!|
There is a rich history in the production of this nectar of the gods that I enjoy every morning. This is the first tour we've taken that has encompassed the entire history from its very inception. It was interesting to learn about how coffee came to be a part of our everyday lives, and for the sake of our new home island, we hope that the farmer's soon recover from the blow that Nature dealt them... I for one... will do my best to support them by drinking Puerto Rican Coffee whenever we can get it!