New York

Bargain Brew at Porto Rico Importing Company

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The other day, something amazing happened. I wish it was that whoever stole my iPhone out of my purse turned out to really just be borrowing it to add more useful applications than “Cat Paint” and returned it to me all ready to go, but instead it was that I learned the hands-down most affordable/best quality coffee spot I’ve come across, Porto Rico Importing Company, exists in my very own Brooklyn backyard! Although I’m still hoping the iPhone thing happens, too.

When I packed up my trash bags full of clothes and VHS tapes (yep) and moved to Brooklyn last fall, there was one aspect of my every day life I was worried about most. You’d think it’d be the whole having to take a subway or cab or very long sweaty walk to get to Manhattan, but it was the fact that I was no longer able to easily procure my morning jam from Porto Rico. The tiny, non-cheapskate side of me is an unabashed coffee snob. I have yet to drink cart coffee and will even turn down free (gasp!) brew if it tastes even just slightly watered down. The large, very cheapskate side of me refuses to spend the price that equals half a $5 footlong sandwich at Subway on a cup of my life juice each morning. Enter Porto Rico.

When you first walk in to any of the stores, the intoxicating smell from dozens of open barrels of beans will hit you like a delivery boy riding his bike on the sidewalk. First, you will be welcomed by sweet little signs reading “Sale!” describing the discounted beans of the week -usually including flavored, organic, decaf and regular choices at $5.99/lb. Even so, most coffees are only priced around $6.99$7.99, yielding about two weeks of daily divinity at $.50 per large travel mug (and a “get out the door without shirt on backwards” warm-up cup). They also have an extensive selection of loose and packaged teas, Torani syrups, and reasonably-priced coffee accessories from machines to charming animal-shaped creamers that I will probably end up buying as Christmas presents for most of my family this year. The staff is almost astonishingly knowledgeable about the beans, making the often long lines worth staying in.

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Locations now include the West Village (201 Bleecker), East Village (40 1/2 St. Marks), Soho, (107 Thompson Street), Williamsburg (636 Grand Street) and the Essex Market (120 Essex Street). If you’re just popping by for a quick to-go cup, folks who bring their own mug can fill it for just $.75 and others will pay only $1.25-$2.50 for a choice of specialty, flavored and decaf of the day. So, make the trek, save some money, and use the difference to get your Nana that Elephant creamer she’ll only use when you’re around.

Porto Rico Importing Company

Click HERE for store hours and maps.

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Jill S.

Jill S.

Jill is an Ohio native and Boston University graduate who refuses to stop saying "pop" and wearing her Red Sox gear despite being heckled for doing so since moving to Brooklyn. She's been honing her thrifty ways since doing that silly thing people talk about when they ignore reason to follow their hearts and chose a career in the fulfilling but faltering music industry. She earns her beer money as a publicist and writer, and spends her spare time cooking, biking, and trying to decide if she's ready to get a cat.