There are few things that make me happier than a good cup of coffee (or three). I have the stained teeth of an 80-year-old to prove it. One of those few things happens to be my affinity for the Caribbean. Marry my love this glorious bean and my favorite place on the planet and Voila! – today’s blog post!
Mountainous regions of the Caribbean provide distinct soils and growing conditions that contribute to the flavor of the varied coffees on offer. When I visit the Caribbean, my caffeine intake nearly triples. Lucky for me, many coffees are available online. However, it’s a proven fact that everything tastes better in the Caribbean, so it’s a perfect excuse to visit often.
Jamaica – Blue Mountain
Primarily located between Kingston and Port Antonio, the Blue Mountains rise some 7,500 feet and are considered among the highest mountains in the Caribbean. The region’s misty, cool climate and good amount of rainfall create a rich soil with excellent drainage – a perfect recipe for a perfect bean.
Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee has a smooth flavor with an almost imperceptible hint of nuttiness. One cup, and you’ll likely not forget it. You might not even balk at the cost ($38 a pound) – that is, if you want to ensure you have the real thing. Imposters often blend low-grade beans and include a small percentage of true Jamaica Blue Mountain.
Mavis Bank Jamaica Blue Mountain is a good bet. Their coffee beans are certified by the Regulatory Coffee Industry Board. Plus, they offer coffee from single estates and micro farmers in the Blue Mountain region, which supports the local industry.
Dominican Republic – Cabarete Coffee Company
Up in the mountains of Jarabacoa, a cooperative of 122 farmers supply the organic, shade-grown beans that go into a cup of Cabarete Coffee. There are environmental benefits to shade-grown coffee – soil protection and erosion control, natural pest control, increased number of bird populations, and improved pollination. However, the proof is in the bean – this is one tasty coffee.
What impresses me most about Cabarete Coffee Company is their commitment to the environment, to giving back to their community, and their work with the Mariposa DR Foundation.
I won’t delve too deeply here, because my friends over at Uncommon Caribbean wrote such a beautiful post about Cabarete Coffee Company, I don’t really need to. Make sure you come right back, though. We have more coffee to discuss!
Haiti Coffee’s sweet, rich, low-toned flavor reminds some tasters of Jamaica Mountain Blue. Like Cabarete Coffee, their beans are shade grown in the mountains. Farmers also hand pick the coffee cherries, and use the technique of wet processing. Wet processing ensures the natural characteristics of the beans are better preserved, making a better quality coffee. In the 1700s, Haiti was a huge coffee exporter – produced 50% of the world’s supply.
A robust coffee business creates a stronger economy and reliable jobs for many Haitian men and women. Today, Haiti Coffee collaborates with several organizations like the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture and Partners of the Americas Farmer to Farmer Program. Their goal is to bring the country’s coffee industry back to its former glory.
Their beans are reasonably priced, and if you buy 16 bags, you get a break on shipping. Currently, they’re also offering 50% off every purchase in honor of the victims of the 2010 earthquake.
I realize there are more Caribbean coffees worth mentioning. Did I miss one of your favorites? Please let me know in the comments, so I can make sure to look for it on my next trip. Or, more likely, order it online because I can’t wait.
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