Friday, May 14, 2010

Porto Rico Importing Company

So, where do you get your caffeine fix? Do you brew at home? Perhaps even grind your beans each morning? And, where are you getting your beans? For more than 15 years we've been getting our beans, Bleeker Street fresh, from Porto Rico Importing Co.

I originally stumbled (probably literally) upon this place when I lived in Chelsea. Now, this was a long time ago - B.S., as in Before Starbucks, but I guess we were still a little late to the game because in the back of my 1966 edition of the New York Times Cookbook, Porto Rico was listed as a recommended purveyor. They've actually been in business for more than 100 years!

I was probably initially enticed by the incredible, rich aroma of roasting beans, but I must say, what has kept us going back is the terrific value Porto Rico offers to coffee (and tea) lovers far and near. You know I am all about the local and independent business, but this is one of those occasions when I can't afford to not go with mail order, because their coffee really is that good and the price can't be beat. A couple of weeks ago we received 9 lbs of coffee, as well as a box of unbleached coffee filters, delivered via UPS, for less than $75! Unfortunately, I've never had local coffee that compares in quality and value, although I'm certainly open to your suggestions.

A couple of things to know when ordering - there is always a weekly sale but the time to really stock up (if you have freezer room) is during one of their two BIG sales in either April or October. During these sales the volume of their business generally slows down the delivery schedule - it may take a week or more to receive your order. They also sell tea, coffee machines and some funky candy, including espresso bean confections. If you have a chance to visit the store there are some cool French presses, assorted creamers, and teapots also available. If it is your first time to the store and it seems familiar, perhaps you're recognizing it as one of the locations used to film one of those Healthy New York television commercial a number of years ago. There are four locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, for you hipsters. Check it out - let me know what you think.


  1. I have been ordering from them for over 20 years. They have a great selection of fresh roasted coffees. Just ordered from the Spring Sale and received my box within 3 days.

  2. Andrea ArmstrongMay 14, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    we love coffee so I think we may have to check this place out. Thank you so much! Now if only I could master the perfect cafe con leche...

  3. liz is from puerto rico and loves coffee, i will suprise her with this one...ribs tomorrow!

  4. Did I inspire you to write a coffee piece Sil? And for the record never store coffee in the freezer or fridge, it diminishes the true flavor of the bean. If you must store in a cold place, I suggest throwing the beans in to a hot skillet for no more than 2 minutes to release the flavor. Maybe I take my coffee a little too serious....


  5. Hello,
    I'm sorry to post this unrelated comment, but I saw through a comment you made in a forum that you held your wedding at Washington Park. My fiancee and I are thinking of using Washington Park as a venue. Can you give us some insight into the procedure for booking it? Was there any cost associated with it?

    Thank you!

    - Danika

  6. @Danika - when we got married there was no charge at all. I can't remember exactly who we spoke to, but I think it is the Parks & Recreation Department, their offices were in the old V.I. building on Madison ave near Bogies. across the street from that park. We didn't use the Lakehouse or anything, just a beautiful green space sort of on a hill for our ceremony. We also did photos using the flowers near Moses as a background. My only regret - no pictures on the bridge.

  7. Hi Sylvia,

    I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago with Alyssa and her 4th grade for a Saturday trip to the Statue of Liberty. Needless to say our time was limited - so when we got back - we tooled around Canal Street and Little Italy - and then made a side trip to Bleeker to visit Porto Rico Importing Co. - per your recommendation - I just had to find it. I picked up a couple of great Costa Rican and Guatemalan coffee blends, and the kids got the yummy candy expresso beans.
    Very cool place - thanks for the great tip!!!

    p.s. hope all goes well with you.

  8. Susan -
    So happy to have inspired your visit to one of my favorite NYC places. Fingers crossed for only good things...