If you’re a coffee drinker, you’re in luck as a visitor to the Dominican Republic. The coffee here is some of the highest quality in the Caribbean, and locals of every social status begin the day with a cup. In areas where coffee is grown, they may even roast, grind, brew, and drink it all in one sitting. So you’ll be right at home here.
About 90% of all coffee grown locally is arabica, a type of coffee plant that grows well in tropical regions. In the Dominican Republic, the resulting coffee beans produce a less bitter and even slightly sweet and citrusy flavour. The majority of the coffee is organically grown—no harmful chemicals—and coffee trees are grown between shade trees and other crops, including cacao, maintaining rich soils and creating a great environment for animal life.
Coffee trails and tours
While in Cabarete, you’ll be able to enjoy many coffee shops like Vagamundo or Claro Café. But if you want to see first-hand how coffee is made, consider a coffee trail hike or coffee farm tour. The Cabarete Coffee Company is a good place to start. They source their fair trade coffee beans from farms in the mountains of Jarabacoa and will organise tours to those farms where you experience the whole process, from picking to brewing your own cup.
Dominicans love their coffee fresh, and will usually only prepare enough to serve the current sitting. Re-warming won’t do. In local households, you won’t find an electric coffee maker but a cherished greca (stovetop coffee maker) with its characteristic octagonal perimeter. A hefty bowl of sugar will be somewhere nearby, as the locals love their coffee super sweet.
The bottom chamber of the greca is filled with water, the desired number of scoops of ground coffee placed in the middle filter cradle, and the coffee collector (top) is screwed on. The greca is placed on a lit burner, and as the pressure in the bottom rises, the water is pushed through a funnel into the coffee becoming saturated. This smooth, rich coffee is forced up the small column at the top into the collector and a sputtering sound signals that your coffee is done. For even more flavour, a shake nutmeg is sometimes added.
Taking coffee from the DR back home
You can get many imported coffees locally, but once you taste the local fare, you’ll be wondering “How much of this can I take home?” Well, there are no restrictions on how much you take from here as long as it’s in your checked luggage. However, you should definitely find out the restrictions on what you can bring into your home country. You can pick up great local coffee brands like Santo Domingo or Gente de la Isla (the first local specialty coffee) in grocery stores or at the airport (if you’re open to paying quite a bit more).
When booking your next yoga retreat at the Yoga Loft, be sure to ask our Manager at the Extreme Hotels for more information on where to buy the best coffee at the best prices.