Haitian Coffee: The Gourmet Coffee We Didn’t Know We Needed in Our Lives
One of the three most favorite beverages in the world, alongside water and tea, is coffee. It is also known as one of the most lucrative international commodities. In fact, countries compete to be the top exporter of the treasured commodity such as countries as Brazil.
At one point in time, Haiti dominated the world’s coffee industry. Nowadays, Haitian coffee is still widely consumed worldwide.
But what is Haitian Coffee? Where does it originate from? What are the benefits of Haitian coffee, and how is it served?
What Is Haitian Coffee?
Haitian coffee has a rich flavor, a medium body, low acidity, and mellow overtones from a smooth texture and soft sweet taste. Haiti is among the first to produce and consume coffee among all the Caribbean countries. Haitian coffee was first introduced to the Caribbean by French colonizers in the 18th century. The French brought coffee plants from Yemen and began cultivating them in Haiti, which was then a French colony.
The coffee industry in Haiti flourished and became one of the country’s main exports. However, the industry faced several challenges, including political instability and natural disasters, which led to a decline in production in the 20th century.
The coffee from Haiti back then became renowned worldwide but wasn’t readily available because of the several challenges mentioned. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, when the coffee industry in Haiti was at its peak, coffee was grown on large plantations and produced using traditional methods. Producing coffee by the Haitians during those years was their pride. The coffee beans were hand-picked and then processed using dry or wet fermentation methods before being sun-dried and exported.
Today, Haitian coffee production is much smaller in scale and is generally produced by smallholder farmers. Many of these farmers still use traditional coffee processing methods, but some have also adopted more modern techniques. The coffee industry in Haiti still faces many challenges, such as a lack of infrastructure, limited access to markets and credit, and the effects of climate change. As a result, Haitian coffee production has not been able to recover and compete with other coffee-producing countries fully.
What Are the Methods Used To Brew It?
There are two coffee processing methods in Haiti, namely, the dry process and the wet process.
The Dry Process
The dry process is the most common. (Almost 95 percent of all coffee in Haiti is processed with this method.) Coffee beans are spread over a concrete surface or fibers (e.g., bags or sacks) after harvest and are left to dry in the sun for three to four months.
When the coffee is dry, it is milled by rudimentary means (e.g., mortar and pestle) at a farm, thereby producing café pilé. Women are usually in charge of this task. Alternatively, the coffee may be milled in facilities equipped to produce natural coffee.
The Wet Process
The wet process is used by very few farmers’ organizations in Haiti. The process requires specialized equipment and a qualified workforce, as well as clients willing to recognize the quality of this type of product. The following steps produce wet coffee:
- Pulping. The coffee beans’ skin and part of the pulp are removed by mechanical means.
- Fermentation. The pulp remainder is eliminated by immersing the beans in clean water for several hours. (Time varies according to environmental conditions.)
- Washing. Final impurities are removed with water.
Wet processing is conducted at cooperatives’ facilities (not on individual farm premises), but few organizations in Haiti own infrastructure to produce wet coffee.
The Benefit Of Haitian Coffee
There are several benefits of drinking Haitian coffee, like every other coffee. They are;
- It provides antioxidants to the body
- It’s beneficial for the human liver
- It lessens Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
- It keeps the brain healthier and longer.
- It helps to keep off the pounds.
How It Is Served.
Haitian coffee is not usually served with no cream or milk, but if it does, it is called a “cafe au lait,” It is usually served with sugar. When is served with a milk product, it is with evaporated milk.
Be sure to drink it hot, cold, or even as a smoothie!