Come September, coffee lovers will be able to get coffee pods featuring coffee from Puerto Rico. George Clooney filmed a promotional video in Puerto Rico.
The new product is part of Nespresso’s Reviving Origins program. The initiative is intended to restore coffee growing lands after disasters, including political upheavals and financial crisis as well as natural disasters like Hurricane Maria. The program has already helped growers in Colombia and Zimbabwe, and is set to help Puerto Rico, as well.
Nespresso has already donated $1 million to Puerto Rico’s coffee industry, and plans to invest another $9.8 million in the three coffee growing regions included in the Reviving Origins program.
Clooney toured Puerto Rico and visited with coffee growers and their families while he was on the Island making the new promotional video. He has been a brand ambassador for Nespresso for some time.
“Over the 15 years that I’ve worked with Nespresso, I have seen firsthand the impact of the company’s investments on coffee regions around the world and, more importantly, on generations of families,” Clooney said in a press release. “Nespresso’s involvement in local coffee industries means that the rhythm of life can return to normal after conflict, natural disaster or other hardships.”
Puerto Rico’s coffee industry has a long history, beginning in the days when Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain. In the 19th century, tradition has it, Puerto Rican coffee was the only kind served at the Vatican. This led to the description of Puerto Rican coffee as “the coffee of popes and kings.”
In recent years, coffee production fell along with other kinds of agriculture in Puerto Rico. Even before Hurricane Maria, most of the coffee consumed in Puerto Rico was imported, as was the majority of the food eaten on the Island.
Then came the 2017 hurricane season. 85% of the coffee crop and 85% of the trees were destroyed, including 90% of the shade-grown coffee. Problems following the hurricanes, including a lack of housing and schools to keep workers available to coffee farms in rural areas, added to the difficulty of reestablishing the industry.
The Nespresso initiative is expected to help recovery.