One interesting fact I discovered is that the Azores islands are one of the only 2 locations in Europe to grow coffee and the only commercial producer of tea in Europe. I decided to explore deeper into how and why these small islands, located in the North Atlantic ocean, chose to experiment and produce coffee and tea, which are not native to any region in Europe. To understand the possibilities of coffee and tea production in the Azores, it is vital to understand the delicate weather pattern. The winter months are filled with ample rain to nourish the mineral-rich volcanic soil on these nine unique islands. It must be noted that just about everything always stays green here in the Azores, where there is seldomly a drought season, and it is common to experience all four seasons in a single day. This has allowed the tea to flourish on the Azores islands since the 19th century, with only one commercial producer still in operation; ‘Cha Gorreana.’ The plantation has produced both green and black organic teas, using the same traditional method since its founding in 1883. The plantation is powered hydro-electrically, allowing the factories machines to operate thanks to the waterfall and stream that runs through the estate. This is one of Portugal’s most famous landmarks, with everyone making a point of visiting the historical plantation while they are on the island of Sao Miguel. Here you can walk the 18th-century grounds that once was a large orange grove while admiring the tea fields and ocean views from this truly unique plantation. After walking or hiking the marked trail, you can go inside the museum and factory and take a free self-guided tour of the entire process, from harvesting to packaging, all done on-site. The machinery that is close to 200 years old is still operational, making it a model factory of the pre-industrial revolution. The outstanding views of green hillsides and majestic blue waves crashing on the coastline below make this a truly unique European company that is now on its 6th generation under the same family ownership, the Hintze-Mota family. In terms of coffee, the plants arrived in São Jorge island in the Azores by the travels of an emigrant in Brazil during the 19th century. It was then upon returning to the native island that he brought with him numerous seeds and plants. Most of them did well in the microclimate of the fajãs, an area with fertile soils used by many locals for agriculture. Although there are plants in several fajãs, only Manuel Nunes has a plantation plant with around 400 coffee plants. The whole coffee production (cultivation, harvesting, drying, choice of grains, and roasting) is biological, manual, and all done on-site, where the beans are harvested. The grains dry in the sun, and Manuel Nunes tries to thrash them, with the help of a stone or a brick. With the help of his mother-in-law, who is 91 who helps to choose the best beans, and then it is up to the women of the family to toast them. The production has increased every year since he began 35 years ago and is only sold as of now on the island of Sao Jorge. It is served in many local coffee shops, most notably his own “Cafe Nunes.” Mr. Nunes, the Azorean coffee farmer, has decided that he does not want to expend much more than he has already had, keeping the product small and local. He has begun to start selling small 50g and 100g bags of his unique coffee to tourists eager to try this Atlantic brew. It is more of just a family-run, small coffee garden. Here the family-owned business is keen to show how the Azores can produce almost anything in its rich fertile soil. The island of Sao Jorge is a long and narrow island with many unique sites to explore, and this is one of them. When you visit your local coffee shop on the island, the coffee is from Sao Jorge. The Azores’ coffee and tea have a unique, fresh island taste, and I am sure it is due to the unique exotic climate here in the Azores. They are worth a try when visiting these magical green islands in the Atlantic.