The Story of Our Haitian Coffee
Devil’s Gulch Ranch purchases green beans from Haiti Coffee, Inc and has them roasted for local sales in Petaluma. We invite you to share one of the best kept secrets in the world of gourmet coffee. From the dense and lush tropical mountains of Haiti, comes a coffee bean that produces a rich, aromatic, and sensational coffee drinking experience. The 2012 Marmelade has been Q rated by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).
We hope to provide the individual and the merchant the opportunity to have this unique java taste on hand. The morning songbirds of Haiti can be heard with every satisfying sip.
Out of 25 types of coffee, Coffea Arabica (pronounced a-ra-bik-a or ar-a-beka) and Coffea Canepha are the two most familiar. It is Coffea Arabica that produces 70% of the world's coffee. Haiti’s climate, the growing region’s mountain elevation, and the shade provided by the indigenous trees all provide the perfect growing environment for this precious bean. We are proud to introduce this coffee to you and to share the secret with coffee enthusiasts everywhere.
Coffee was introduced to Haiti in 1725 by the Jesuits in the commune of Terrier Rouge as arabica seedlings from Martinique. A decade later coffee was planted at Dondon, another community located at an altitude of 450 meters in the département du Nord.
Coffee then spread to all 10 departments thriving in colonial times. Haiti became a valuable producer on the international market producing 50% of the world’s coffee, first acquiring international demand in France. At that time Haiti was still a French colony. From Paris to Marseilles, the French fell in love with the tropical treat and embraced it as their own.
The decline of the coffee sector in Haiti started around the beginning of the 1970s with the lowering of the price of coffee on the international market. From 1971 to 1982, the coffee acreage rose to approximately 140,000 ha. According to recent estimates, coffee is down to 115 000 ha producing an average 250 kg per hectare nationally, due to pestilence and lack of maintenance. The result is a decrease in domestic production from 45 720 tons in 1962 to 21 000 tons in 2006.
In the early 1990's coffee cultivation in Haiti was affected by trade embargos, as well as coffee rust, a fungal disease that attacked the coffee bean plant, (Coffee Research Institute). With the help of USAID and the Inter American Development Bank, the Fédération des Associations Caféières Natives (FACN) was created in an effort to improve the processing and quality of Haiti’s coffee.
This coffee was trademarked Haitian Blue and improved sales through contracts through 2005 for some regions in Haiti. (Development Alternatives, Inc.)
Few Haitians these days can make a living growing coffee and the knowledge is becoming lost with the passing of the older generation. Until now there was more value in cutting the trees for charcoal than processing and selling the beans.
Haiti Coffee is working collaboratively in Haiti with other companies and NGO’s to revitalize the coffee industry and to facilitate export.
With the help of Haiti’s own Makouti Agro Entreprise and Partners of the Americas Farmer to Farmer program, Farmers now have a voice, access to knowledge and a route to access resources to redevelop their agricultural heritage to its former glory.
Haiti Coffee, Inc is also committed to the rebirth of Haiti, formerly known as The Pearl of the Antilles. Please visit our Charitable Projects Page at HaitiCoffee.com. With every purchase made, a percentage of profit is dedicated to helping the people of Haiti. With your help we can help Haitians help themselves.
A native Haitian, Yves Gourdet founded Haiti Coffee in 2003 after experiencing an amazing demand for his country’s unique coffee and tea products. When he first arrived in the US, his mother regularly would send him (as mothers have a tendency to do) reminders of home, in the form of the coffee he had grown up with. When his co-workers and new friends got a taste of the brew they immediately wanted their own supply of this amazingly robust and satisfying coffee. Haiti Coffee was formed, almost out of necessity. The rest, as they say, is history.
Yves was born in L’Azile, a mountainous village in Southern Haiti. He was educated in Port au Prince and moved to New York in 1980 to continue his studies. He came to California in 1990 with his wife and 2 daughters. Yves returns frequently to Haiti to buy coffee, monitor projects he sponsors and most importantly to visit his mother and friends.
Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak DVM:
Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak is a veterinarian, farmer, agricultural development practitioner and now CFO of Haiti Coffee. Since 1971, Myriam and her husband Mark have owned and managed Devil’s Gulch Ranch in Nicasio, California, a diversified family farm that supplies high end restaurants and wineries as well as educating children about nutrition and food production. Her experience in international development began in Niger, West Africa, where she was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1983-85 focusing on nutrition.
Since 2007, Myriam has been working with Makouti Agro Entreprise as a Partners of the Americas Farmer to Farmer volunteer problem-solving the economic needs of communities and farmers in Haiti for which she received a Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2010. Her efforts intensified following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which she along with her husband and children experienced firsthand. She currently acts as a consultant/catalyst/grant writer for several village projects throughout Haiti, for which she has raised over $146,000 in grants and donations. She also helped found and direct the 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization DG Educational Services and manages the Bay Area Haiti Network.