Progress, as noted in this space a time or two before, is not always such a good thing. For proof, one need look no further than Haiti’s otherworldly organic gourmet coffee.
Bold, without bashing you across the face, eminently flavorful, and so perfectly and deliciously smooth and balanced that it requires neither cream nor sugar to satiate even the most discerning coffee-lover’s hypercritical palate, Haitian coffee is nothing short of the world’s very finest cup o’ joe.
At least that’s what my wife says. (And you know I’m not arguing with her!) I learned long ago that if I want to continue gifting myself with rum “souvenirs” from my various travels across the Caribbean, I better bring back something nice for the wife as well. In recent years, that something nice has been bags of rich and exotic coffee.
Martinique, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Jamaica, Antigua – she’s brewed, sampled, and generally enjoyed caffeinated cups from these and many other points overseas. Her favorite BY FAR – Rebo brand coffee from Haiti.
Haiti has seen more than its fair share of problems over the years, of course, but in the 1700s the then-French colony was booming thanks to coffee. Offshoots of that legendary coffee tree smuggled from Paris to Martinique that I told you about some time ago were thriving in Haiti’s rich soil and high elevations such to the point that for a time, a good 50% of the world’s total supply of coffee was grown right here.
For centuries, Haitian coffee has continued to play prominently on the world stage, though with an uncommon twist born of its heretofore ever-changing and even more challenging political situation.
Whereas other leading coffee-producing countries “benefited” from advances in farming techniques, pesticides, fertilizers and the like, Haiti’s relative isolation over the years ensured that cultivation and production techniques here remained almost entirely unchanged.
As was the case in the 1700s, all of the coffee beans grown in Haiti today are pure Arabica, the fancy gourmet stuff we all pay a nice premium for at Whole Foods. At the same time, it’s estimated that 90% of the coffee trees in Haiti are what’s known as typica, or directly descended from the coffee plants brought to Haiti by the French in those long ago colonial days.
In this way, it’s arguable that Haitian coffee offers the closest flavor experience to the java produced some 300 years ago, when the Western world was first beginning to fall in love with the bold and black stuff.
It’s similarly arguable that the coffee trees with the most direct lineage to that original smuggled tree from way back in 1720 are today, still hard at work, in Haiti.
What cannot be argued, however, is the absolutely organic nature of Haitian coffee – farmers here never learned any other way – and its incredible flavor. Truly, if you love coffee, there’s nothing better.
Look for us to add Rebo brand coffee to our online store in a few weeks…!