On my tour of micro roasters of the rose city, I came upon EXTRACTO in Northeast Portland. Inside customers were typing away on their laptops, decorative cappuccinos sat beside them on the wooden tables. But what really had me interested was the roaster in the back. The machine […]
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate the Mexican army kickin’ Napoleon’s butt 150 years ago, with Patrón’s XO Cafe, a coffee-ﬂavored tequila. Francisco Alcaraz, Patrón’s master distiller is credited with this blend. The spirit starts with Patrón’s, 100% agave and 70 proof Silver tequila. This is blended with the […]
This is a guest review by Claire Iris. If you’re interested in writing guest reviews for A Table in the Corner of the Cafe, feel free to contact me.
Happy May Day on Tuesday!
May 1st is one of my favorite days of the year, not for ﬂower baskets and poles, but for labor rights and Chicago history. May Day celebrates the days that workers take back their means of production. Thus, I deemed it appropriate to tell you about this delicious coffee I found that comes from a worker-owned company in Ranquitte, Haiti.
The company is run by 25 full time employees who work with local landowners to help cultivate their land. An additional 50 employees are hired for the seasonal harvest. While it was founded by Tom Durant who works with Christian Flights International, now “EcoCafé Haiti is a Haitian employee-owned company, the beneﬁts of which accrue solely to our Haitian employees and the community of Ranquitte,” says the website. The company was started as a non-proﬁt by CFI, however is now a for proﬁt enterprise as residents seek to build up their local economy.
“The initial investment was to set up the processing facility and marketing efforts, which are now owned by a local organization that is legally incorporated,” writes Coffee Consultant, Dan Kuhn.
The region happens to be well adapted to growing coffee, as the French found out in 1700ʼs, when they imported the Typica plant there from Africa. Though the French were no longer farming, the shrub remained, tucked away in the mountainous region. Far from the slave trade days of its past, the Haitian Arabica Typica is now being cultivated by the employees of EcoCafé Haiti and the landowners of Ranquitte.
The goal behind the enterprise was not only to improve the local economy by growing coffee, but also to plant food crops on the land, thus helping reverse the high malnutrition rate and deforestation of the area.
My beans were roasted by Clive Coffee out of Portland, Oregon. They use a very light to medium roast with these beans. However if you prefer a different roaster or style, EcoCafé Haiti sells its green beans to a few select other roasters around the United States.
origin: Ranquitte, Haiti
farm: several from the area who are cooperating with EcoCafé Haiti
elevation: 1400-1900 meters above sea level
process: washed, patio dried
I know the secret behind this cup, that even though it says Haiti on the bag, I can smell its heavy Ethiopian ancestry. The high altitudes the coffee is grown at give it a very smooth mouth feel and a clean ﬁnish. It is well rounded with ﬂavors that compliment each other into a medium body coffee. I preferred it out of my Hario to my Melitta because it allowed the sweetness to shine through better.
Before I could even try my ﬁrst sip the ﬂoral smell hit me. Iʼm pretty sure I was having my desert before my dinner. Even now, Iʼm just sticking my nose into the cup and smelling the sugary aroma. The coffee itself tastes just like Mexican hot chocolate.
Sweet, chocolaty, and yet with a spiciness to it that helps keep the sweetness in check, and reminds you you are an adult not a little kid, though I would not disapprove if you topped it with whip cream.
the bottom line:
If you get a chance to try this coffee do it. Because the farmers are just starting to develop the land into a growing region again, and due to natural disasters and political setbacks, EcoCafé Haiti can only produce a small harvest each time. Though it is a rare crop and thus somewhat of a luxury to try, it is the sweetness that gets me each time, and keeps me coming back, somewhat guiltily, for another cup.
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Claire hails from Portland, Oregon where coffee is a natural substitute for blood. In an effort to explore more of the United States she moved to Galesburg, Illinois to attend Knox College, earning a B.A. in International Relations and Creative Writing.
She works at Peet’s Coffee and Tea and dreams of someday being a super buff coffee roaster or a worldly coffee buyer. For now though she is content to sip from her goat mug and read zines
This is a guest review by Claire Iris. If you’re interested in writing guest reviews for A Table in the Corner of the Cafe, feel free to contact me. It was a few years ago when I first discovered St. Johns Coffee Roasters, out of […]
This is a guest review by Claire Iris. If you’re interested in writing guest reviews for A Table in the Corner of the Cafe, feel free to contact me. It was a long night and, after the three flights up to my studio, I was […]