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Rendering Tribute to Puerto Rico’s Sugarcane through Guarapo La Cura

Drinking an Excellent Fresh Sugarcane Water
Publication of Discovery: March 31, 2023
Issue: March, 2023

Sugarcane is widely known as the key ingredient for mass production of sugar and Caribbean rum; however, the wholly natural flavor of this succulent crop can be best savored by drinking sugarcane water—the fresh sugarcane juice that tastes like heaven. Locals in Puerto Rico as well as in other Caribbean destinations where sugarcane has been cultivated typically refer to this beverage as guarapo. + Prior to sharing the brand name of an outstanding guarapo made in Puerto Rico that we had the chance to taste, we share brief information about sugarcane water’s relation to sugar production in Puerto Rico.

With respect to Puerto Rico, guarapo dates back to the times when sugarcane was first imported to this island and during sugar production under the Spanish Crown government. For instance, African slaves, who were first brought to Puerto Rico during the 16th century, worked in sugarcane fields and engaged in sugar production tasks such as extracting guarapo from sugarcane by means of a manual sugarcane press (trapiche in Spanish), and eventually a steam engine-powered sugarcane crushing mill in some haciendas. Guarapo was then boiled until it was evaporated and condensed to the point of producing molasses, which was later used for the formation of muscovado sugar. Guarapo was an essential ingredient for the manufacture of sugar in Puerto Rico, which became one of the sugar industry leaders in the western hemisphere during the 19th century.

In order to render tribute to Puerto Rico’s history behind sugar production, we engaged in the adventure of tasting a particular fresh guarapo, which is an excellent manifestation of Puerto Rico’s culture: Guarapo La Cura. This sugarcane water may be purchased immediately after it has been extracted from organic sugarcanes cultivated in a farm located in Municipality of Bayamón, Puerto Rico. This guarapo stands out for its delicious and pleasing wholly natural flavor—a sweet for the palate and soul.

The founder and owner of Guarapo La Cura, María Judith Oliveras, described the flavor of that fresh sugarcane water as follows:

“Guarapo La Cura’s taste tends to be sweet but not overly sweet. When you drink it, you feel the sugarcane—the green. Its flavor is so magical to the extent that, during the whole time while you are drinking it, you experience the pleasure of a hug with a loved one.” (translation ours).

According to María Judith, farmer and manager of the farm where Guarapo La Cura’s sugarcane is cultivated, agroecological farming practices are applied at such farm. For instance, no herbicides, plague-prevention chemicals, or synthetic fertilizers are used. María Judith added that while multiple crops are cultivated, diverse plant residues are used to nourish the soil. She explained that the soil is fertilized by using compost made of noncontaminated plant residues, such as those from sugarcane, plantain and pigeon pea plants, grass, ferns, and tithonia flower plants. As a result, the sugarcane cultivation is organically fertilized. Besides the compost, the land-rest technique applied improves soil quality, as further stated by María Judith. You may browse this article’s photo gallery to see pictures of the sugarcane farm.

In addition, María Judith highlighted that Guarapo La Cura is made of sugarcane that has been harvested not more than 24 to 36 hours prior to being crushed in the sugarcane press machine. She added that each sugarcane is cut into sticks one day before it will be squeezed in the machine. Besides contributing to serve fresh guarapo, María Judith explained that these practices help prevent bacteria accumulation on the cut sugarcane. You may see how fresh sugarcane sticks are crushed and Guarapo La Cura is born by checking this article’s photo gallery.

If you want to delight your palate with the flavor of fresh and organic Guarapo La Cura and witness how that sugarcane water is extracted from the sugarcane, you may contact Guarapo La Cura to find out the specific Saturdays when such guarapo will be sold at San Juan Natural Farmers Market. This farmers market takes place on a sidewalk along San Felipe del Morro Fort in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Saturdays, 8:00 am-12:00 pm. However, Guarapo La Cura is sold at such urban market every other Saturday, subject to availability. You may see Sebastián Otero, María Judith’s son, happily making fresh guarapo for you to drink. You may also place special orders and coordinate delivery by contacting Guarapo La Cura. T.: 787-445-4522

+ Note: People residing in other countries may call sugarcane water other names.

tour provider: Yourself onto Culture
book here
where the crew ate: At Home
photograph by: N. Michelle Rodríguez

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all details with the pertinent businesses before planning your trip. Please be cautious. The company behind this publication assumes no responsibility for your safety when participating in the activities mentioned in this article. You are responsible for confirming whether you are capable of participating in any of these activities or tours, regardless of the effort level or any other information provided in this website.


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María Judith Oliveras, San Juan, PR: “Guarapo La Cura’s taste tends to be sweet but not overly sweet. When you drink it, you feel the sugarcane—the green. Its flavor is so magical to the extent that, during the whole time while you are drinking it, you experience the pleasure of a hug with a loved one.” (translation ours).


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