Coffee plants have their origin in Africa, and our first coffee plant is originally from Ethiopia.
In the time of the colonization of the Americas, the Dutch are said to have introduced the coffee plant (Coffea Arabica L) between 1726 and 1735 to Surinam and from the French island of Martinique to the island of Saint Domingue (the island of Hispaniola), specifically to the west side of the island, that is Haiti and from there it was introduced in the eastern side of the island, that is now Dominican Republic.
It is believed that the first seeds were planted by the Spaniards in the provinces of Barahona, the region of our unique national stone Larimar, and Neyba. The first coffee company with industrial production and internal commerce was registered in the Dominican Republic in December 12, 1917!
The coffee export business started in 1935 with the largest coffee plantations located in Barahona!
Since the native Indians didn’t know coffee and by the time it arrived in the eastern side of the Hispaniola, few of them were still alive, we assume our coffee habits started with our Spanish heritage and followed by our African heritage!
Coffee became part of our Dominican tradition; every day we start with the first cup of coffee when we wake up, before breakfast, than we have a cup of coffee when we arrive at work, then we have another cup of coffee when we take a break, another cup of coffee after we had our midday meal, then we have a cup of coffee later on in the afternoon and there are those who still have another cup of coffee in the evening.
The first thing you will be asked when visiting a Dominican family is “would you like a cup of coffee?” If you are in the city or in a town, the cup of coffee will be served pure and you will add the white or brown sugar as per your taste, but if you are in a rural area, most probably you will be served the coffee already sweetened!. The Dominican coffee is really dark black, more like a turkish coffee!
With the cup of coffee, depending where the cup of coffee has been offered to you, comes a conversation that will have to do with business, a job application, a family update, an interesting gossip, politics, sports, etc. If the Dominican coffee drinker is superstitious, specially she would love to have somebody read her empty cup of coffee turned upside down so that the drops left in the cup will form “figures” after being dried on the burner. The specialist in this “art” will foretell future and the future of the future!!!
Coffee will be the used to keep us awake, you’ll find it in the funeral house as a treat, on the street, oh yes; we have hot coffee vendors on the street!
Within the eco tourism programs in the Dominican Republic you’ll find the Coffee Routes, which will bring you in contact with coffee agriculturists of the area, enjoy their folklore in their natural environment. This will encourage them to reforestation, to identify themselves with their habitat and activate their cultural traditions.
Consider including in your forthcoming visit to the Dominican Republic an eco tour, private or in group, and have the experience of drinking a cup of authentic Dominican coffee of the rural area, prepared either in an espresso coffee pot or made the original way, that is, coffee beans are dried in the sun, roasted and grinded, this ground coffee is placed in a homemade cloth filter, resembling a small butterfly net, “colador”, evoking nostalgia for those good old times and boiling water is then poured in the “colador”, strained or sieved and served in a typical metal or ceramic cup! This ground coffee is called “cafe de pilón”, very, very tasty!