When we sampled this stellar coffee from Haiti, we KNEW we had to carry it in our line of coffees. With a cupping score of 86 and tasting notes of buttered toast, nut and hints of chocolate - how could we go wrong?
While you don't hear much about coffee from Haiti - they aren't new to this industry. Let me give you a bit of a history lesson so that you can see just what this nation has overcome and what current obstacles they have and how coffee has played a big role.
Where in the world is Haiti? Haiti is located on the western third of the island of Hispaniola, which is also shared by the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Caribbean and lies just southeast of Cuba.
How Haiti came to be Haiti. Since the inception of the country it has experienced conflict. In 1492 Columbus discovered the island of Hispaniola and claimed it for Spain. Sadly, the Spanish conquistadors introduced disease and oppressive slavery to the native people. Meanwhile, in the early 1700's, in France, Louis XIV received a present from the Dutch, a coffee tree for Paris’s Royal Botanical Garden, the Jardin des Plantes. The Dutch had successfully grown the coffee tree on their colonized island of Java. Louis XIV envisioned Martinique, a French colony in the Carrabean, as a "French Java". He gave a clipping to a naval officer, Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu who sailed without haste for Martinique. Under armed guard, the cutting was planted and grew strong yielding an extended family of approximately 18 million trees in the following 50 years. The French continued to colonize the tropics including the island of Hispaniola in an effort to become a world leader in the coffee trade. After much conflict with the already claimed Spanish territory, Spain ceded the western third of Hispaniola to France. This area became the French colony of Saint Domingue, and became the most prosperous New World possession of France. Much of this prosperity was due in part from the coffee that grew in abundance on this mountainous island with mild climate and a widely varying micro-climate, and ultra-fertile soil. For a time the nation became the leading coffee producer of the world.
In 1804, the last European troops were defeated by a coalition of former slaves and mulattoes and driven from the island. Independence was declared and Haiti was acknowledged as the first sovereign "black" country in the modern world and the first colony to gain independence from imperial Europe.
However, the nation has continued to experience conflicts specifically, the Haitian Revolution and slave revolt. You can read more about that here. Haiti has continued to experience political instability related to the vast socio-economical disparity in classes, and financial instability resulting from the economic embargo bringing the once-thriving coffee farms and plantations crashing. As if that wasn't enough, Haiti has experienced severe natural disasters - most recently in 2016, Hurricane Matthew, and the most devastating event, a 9.0 earthquake in 2010.
All of that has left the Haitian coffee industry struggling, but there is hope! Thanks to a few sustainable-minded groups like Cafe Kreyol and others whose desire is to bring sustainable employment to the local growers and establish Direct Trade relationships with the local farmers.
About our Haitian Blue Pine
We obtained this amazing coffee from Cafe Kreyol, a company committed to transparency and sustainability in the coffee industry has been working with the Haitian people with the mission of growing the highest quality beans, establishing Direct Trade for Haitian coffee farmers, and paying them 300% higher wages than the Fair Trade minimum, and as Joseph Stazzone, founder of Cafe Kreyol states, "not out of charity, but for having an exceptional product."
This Arabica Blue Mountain varietal coffee is grown by a cooperative of 680 farmers with the average farm size of 1 hector. It's a high elevation coffee grown at 1300 meters above sea level in the subtropical Blue Pine Forest in the Central Plateau region of the island. This coffee is Shade-Grown. which is uncommon since dense forest cover in Haiti is scarce due to years of deforestation. It is wet-processed, sun-dried. It's both ethically sourced and environmentally thoughtful. It has a smooth body, low acidity, with sweet undertones and floral aromas.
There is just so much to like about this coffee. We are excited to offer to you. You can find it here in our 12 oz bag and also in our 4 oz sampler size.
Enjoy and Cheers!