3 Places in Town to Satisfy the Coffee Fanatic in You
Puerto Rico is a heavenly destination for many reasons, and there is no doubt that its wonderful coffee is one of them. Known throughout the world for its richness in flavor and beautiful aroma, Puertorrican coffee has been coveted by connoisseurs for centuries.
And here you are, you unrepentant coffeeholic, looking for that special coffee shop to satisfy your relentless craving. You are in luck, because we are offering you some of the best places in town for you to sit, relax and enjoy one of the greatest cups you will ever have.
Café Don Ruiz
inside Cuartel de Ballajá, OSJ
(Photo credit: John Smith)
Just steps away from the vast grass clearing in front of El Morro fort lies Cuartel de Ballajá (or Ballaja Barracs), and inside this imposing historical edifice from the Spanish colonial era, almost hidden from view, you will find this little paradise for the café enthusiast.
A combination of time-honored tradition, expertise in the art of coffee making, and a product of exceptional quality and freshness make of this a very special place for coffee connoisseurs and delightful discovery for any wandered tourist, as well.
Café Don Ruiz is a family-owned business that uses exclusively 100% Puerto Rican single-source coffee beans, which the Ruiz family grows and process deep in the mountains of Yauco, in the southwestern part of the island. In fact, the meticulous process of artisanal elaboration is done partially in-store, where the beans are roasted to perfection in order to preserve the richness and complexity of its sweet, chocolaty and gently citric flavors and aromas.
The coffee shop has a cozy salon exhibiting replicas of some of the equipment and machines used in the elaboration of artisanal coffee. It also provides exterior seating overlooking Ballajá’s ample interior patio.
Café Cuatro Sombras
259 Recinto Sur Street, OSJ
(Photo credit: John Smith)
Puerto Rico has been known worldwide to be a high-quality producer of gourmet coffee. A visit to Café Cuatro Sombras will allow you not only to check out the veracity of that claim, but also, you will experience first-hand how far the art and the science of serving good coffee can be taken.
This micro-roaster and coffeehouse can boast of serving one of the cleanest cups of coffee around, thanks to the remarkable qualities of their all-Puertorrican Arabica beans harvested from their own farm, called Hacienda Santa Clara, high in the mountains of Yauco.
To top it off, it seems that their baristas know everything there is to know about coffee and coffee making. If you ask them anything about their vocation for this time-honored practice you will be amazed by the complexity, the beauty and the precision required to make a supreme cup of coffee. A couple of minutes into the conversation you will also notice how much they love what they do.
But, once you have tasted one of their wonderful brews, everything will become deliciously clear. The properties of their coffee come from the use of a medium-roasted bean that excels for its vibrant acidity, also joined by semi-sweet chocolate, caramel and spicy undertones, delivering a fresh and bright flavor in every cup.
To complement their brewing menu, they offer an assortment of fresh home-baked pastries and sweets confectioned daily at their in-house bakery. Do not leave the store without trying at least one!
For breakfast, they have a selection of savory treats, as well as a small but hip menu of delicious dishes for a quick lunch.
As a last piece of good news for coffee lovers, Café Cuatro Sombras sells packaged Puerto Rican coffee, which means you can take a unique piece of the Island back home with you. If you love coffee, you won’t regret it!
Café Cuatro Estaciones
plaza de armas, osj
(Photo credit: John Smith)
At the northwestern corner of Plaza de Armas, in Old San Juan, you will find Café Cuatro Estaciones, one of the best-known open-spaced coffee shops in the city.
Reminiscent of the outdoor cafés in Europe, this picturesque little place has literally no inside: You place your order through one of the three big windows in the polygonal structure, and you will have the entire square as your eating space.
Around the café, there are several tables where you can sip your coffee, enjoy the view of the plaza and engage in pleasant conversation with local artists and writers, as well as residents that are regular patrons of the place. Alternatively, you can sit on the benches overlooking the square and the beautiful fountain, called Fuente de las Cuatro Estaciones (or Fountain of the Four Seasons), that gives the coffee shop its name.
The offer is simple, inexpensive and tasty, consisting of a variety of sandwiches, pastries, juices, and most important, good coffee.
The café is located at a very special and important setting. A historical site built in during the Spanish period, Plaza de Armas is, both, the geographical and the cultural center of the Old City. It hosts a diversity of live musical shows, performed by local and international artists and all kinds of cultural and artistic events, which you can enjoy right from your table at the café all year long.
With delicious treats, excellent coffee and a most enjoyable al fresco-eating environment, Café Cuatro Estaciones is definitively a place to visit on all seasons.