Take an Agro-Tour at Hacienda Muñoz Coffee Plantation
Neither Ray nor I drink coffee, but that doesn’t stop us from going to coffee plantations and enjoying the experience. That is because these plantations are about more than just a coffee product, it is a whole nature experience. Hacienda Muñoz, in San Lorenzo was great … an agrotourism farm that features a coffee plantation tour, but has so much more to offer.
Learn the history of coffee, how it is grown, harvested, and everything that goes into making a great cup of coffee. While there, you’ll aslo see other fruits they are growing, like plantains, pineapples, and cocoa, all growing in a beautiful natural setting.
Hacienda Muñoz is located in San Lorenzo, just 40 minutes south (via mostly highway) from San Juan. Here, they have transformed 20 acres of land into a lively plantation that has much of the ambiance of yesteryear, but also encompasses all the modern equipment needed to produce a quality product.
They offer a coffee tour a few times a day. This 75-minute, guided walking tour takes you through some of the coffee plantation, and into each of the processing areas. The plantation is beautiful, well maintained, and has peacocks, chickens and even their mascot donkey roaming freely around the property. You can even sit and watch for local birds that also enjoy the property.
The tour starts with the history of how we came to drink coffee, and its history and importance to Puerto Rico. The guide talks to you about everything, and is there to answer any questions you might have. They also have bilingual signs set up along the walkway, so you can read more detail, and see photos to really understand what they’re doing there.
Our guide explained coffee from seed, through its various life stages until it is a fruit-bearing plant. Then we walked along paths, past coffee bushes, and learned how Hacienda Muñoz waters and fertilizes their plants. I found it really interesting when our guide explained the different coffee growing practices, like grown in shade versus full sun, grown closer together versus farther part, or terraced versus hillside growing. So much goes into the “simple” practice of growing plants!
Our guide explained the picking process, which is still done all by hand! In these fields, you will also see cocoa trees (they hope to one day make chocolate), pineapples plantains, and a few other fruits/vegetables that they use in their restaurant. It’s the perfect example of “from field to table”!
After walking through the fields, we headed to the processing area, which is a mix of modern and old-fashioned. Here, the guide explained how they clean the beans to remove the red fruit, using a big modern depulper. Then they take the beans and dry them in the sun, using a centuries-old method. While they’re drying the beans in the sun, they have to watch the weather closely, and stir them every so often for uniform drying. After drying, the beans go through a number of ultra-modern grading machines, so that, in the end, only the best beans go into the final product. That is what is Hacienda Muñoz uses to make their coffee.
The coffee roaster is located in the coffee shop area … if you like coffee, the aroma is wonderful. Our guide talked about bean quality and what makes the best quality bean. He showed us examples of their beans before and after roasting, and samples of other poor-quality beans. He explained how they roast the beans, and the different roasts they offer (traditional, dark, and others) that bring out different flavor notes. Then we got to taste a cup of their coffee, and he explained how to do a real coffee tasting. All in all, it was a really interesting couple of hours.
That was the end of the tour, but you are invited to try their coffee shop (Doppio) and their open-air restaurant (Yiya’s), where you can relax and enjoy this lovely country setting (and delicious coffee and farm-fresh food).
No reservations at this time, tours fill on a first come/first served basis.
They offer a few times during the day, Wednesday- Sunday. They have 1 English tour a day at 10am, Spanish tours at 12 noon and 2pm. .
The coffee tour costs $20 per adult, Kids 6y-12y and people over 60yo, $10. person.
Allow about 1 hour for the tour, and longer to stay and enjoy the grounds or a coffee or lunch.
You can call Hacienda Muñoz at 939-274-2233 for more information
To get to Hacienda Muñoz from the San Juan area, take Route 52 south, to Route 30 east, to Route 203 south, to Route 931 east, to Route 181 south. They are located on Route 181 at KM 37. There are signs you can follow once you get close.
Hacienda Muñoz is located in San Lorenzo, approximately 40 minutes from the San Juan area.
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