U.S. Restaurants Begin Carrying Hand-Picked Coffee Beans from Haiti

PHILADELPHIA, USA – In New York and Philadelphia an established coffee brewer began carrying a special kind of coffee that is well grown and hand-picked.

An article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) looked into this new brand of joe that is brewing in the U.S.’s top metropolitan areas.

It is the Haitian Blue Forest coffee that is grown in a semi-wild mountain region in Thiotte. It is grown in high altitudes, allowing natural atmospheric pressure to enrich its taste. The beans grow under shade in what is called a „wet” process that involves bathing the skinds of the coffee beans in water to induce fermentation. The production is primitive, no machines, no fertilizer, no pesticides, a product of the economic conditions but a treat to the taster as a centuries-old taste is preserved.

La Colombe Torrefaction , a gourmet brewery with cafés in Philadelphia and New York, USA, bought 85,000 pounds of the hand-picked beans in January and has already bought 400,000 pounds of the product expected in next year’s harvest. The company also brought in a coffee dryer from Brazil to allow their operatives in Haiti to boost production, according to the WSJ article.

Once one of the largest, if not the largest, coffee producer and exporter in the world, Haiti has experienced a decline in the industry due to socio-political unrest and environmental degradation. Todd Carmichael, the owner of La Colombe said „the original strain of this coffee is almost extinct, but it survived in Haiti almost in a time capsule. This is like having a coffee from 300 years ago.”

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A chef from Danny Meyer’s Modern restaurant sampled the coffee for Sumathi Reddy, the author of the piece. The French chef said „this has a beautiful after taste, there is nothing that dries your mouth out. It lingers nicely. It stays elegant. It’s soft but expands in your mouth.”

Another cafe Building on Bond on Bond Street in New York City is selling the coffee by the cup and by the bag, going through 40 pounds per week. The owner of the Brooklyn County, USA, café Jared Lewis said „the reaction has been great, both because of the quality of the coffee, as well as people’s awareness of what’s going on in Haiti.”

Further trade is being encouraged with Haitian coffee exporters but it can be seen that there may be a big decision to make in the future between mass production and quality control as it is the primitiveness of the product that makes it rare, which makes it special.

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