Personality in Focus

Today we look at a man who emigrated from Dúrcal in Spain, travelled Europe and Las Americas before returning to grow coffee on the Costa Tropical

FTR Coffee 02Dr. Manuel Puerta Pérez, son of fruit and nut farmers, born in Dúrcal, Granada, Spain in 1935 is the first from his hometown to immigrate, moving to Paris, France at the age of 21.

In Paris he became a French and Spanish Professor teaching two Summers in Pennsylvania, USA and achieved his first Doctorate Degree. Being offered to teach at the University of Ottawa, Quebec, Canada he achieved a Master’s Degree and then moved more permanently to the USA graduating with his second Doctorate Degree in Languages and Literature from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

FTR Coffee 01His passion for history and meeting new cultures led him to travel the world with his wife Eloisa from Almuñécar and his daughters Marielo and Carolina born in the United States.

He moved the family to Big Rapids, Michigan in 1981 where he founded the Languages Department at Ferris State College now Ferris State University. After 30+ years of teaching and being recognized as an award-winning professor leading 17 international study-abroad programs with students to Mexico, Spain and Costa Rica.

He and Eloisa retired in 2001 and moved back to their home on the Tropical Mediterranean Coastline of Europe in Almuñécar, Granada.

Since retirement, Manuel has dedicated himself to continuously perfecting fluency in nine languages and his everlasting love of coffee, beer, family and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.

FTR Coffee 03Never forgetting his farming roots, in 2010 Manuel went to the Canary Islands and purchased 20 Arabica coffee plants. He planted the coffee plants in Almuñécar in 100 square meters between 12-16 existing sub-tropical fruit trees: Mango, Papaya, Guava, Banana, Custard Apple, Passion Fruit, Persimmon, Pitanga, Star Fruit, Fig, Grapefruit, Plum, Olive. It took two years to receive the first crop. Now in 2023, Manuel has 100 plants and produces 20 kilos of coffee per year in two harvests.

He is the Coffee Pioneer of the Costa Tropical. There are other known small cultivations of coffee currently, as well as in the Canary Islands and Portugal.

A genius, visionary, pioneer, and trailblazer, Manuel has calculated a 40-mile Mediterranean coastline (similar to Santa Marta, Colombia) for coffee cultivation on Granada’s Costa Tropical which is very fertile and has some existing farming where coffee can be planted in-between tropical trees and crops creating one more, fresh, sub-tropical produce on offer and opportunities for tourism for the area.

As a thought: currently, nowhere in Europe is there a sustainable coffee cultivation for the demand of the European consumption market nor is there a known, identified-as-such, Spain coffee brand. Spain’s currently importing green coffee from Colombia, Vietnam and Brazil among others.

“Noto que es un café muy bueno, sembrado entre una mezcla de más de 20 árboles frutales en un clima ideal. Lo mejor del mundo. I’m proud to be from Dúrcal, love Almuñécar and consider myself a citizen of Spain, Europe and of course the United States with all my heart.”- Dr. Manuel Puerta Pérez.

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