La Barba Reserve #5: EcoCafe Ranquitte, Haiti
I sometimes have mixed feelings about dedicating an entire blog post to a single coffee, especially one like this Haiti from La Barba Coffee. I love highlighting interesting profiles, but often by the time I’m familiar enough with a coffee to post about it, it’s no longer available. But, after tasting the uniqueness and hearing the story behind the coffee, I decided to go for it anyway.
From the Roaster
La Barba sent out a newsletter with the story behind why Levi, the head roaster, selected this coffee for the Reserve line. I grabbed a couple portions of that story to share with you:
We stumbled upon this particular Reserve coffee from our friend Tom who has worked in Haiti for the last ten years. His company, EcoCafé, strives to “enable self-sufficient economic efficiency in rural Haiti (through coffee cultivation, processing, and export sale), to restore the environment back to good health, and to feed the poorest of the poor, a tri-fold mission statement.” They have done some tremendous work in the region of Ranquitte to bring you this coffee, battling road closures, theft of coffee plants and equipment, and on.
While Haiti is a nation racked by natural disasters, poverty, disease, deforestation, and corruption, I found the country to be first and foremost, beautiful and strong. Haiti is, after all, a nation of former slaves who revolted to create the world’s oldest and first black republic. In spite of the hardships, Haitians are ready to bounce back and eager to take control of their labor and means of production. They are ready to grow their own crops and build their own houses rather than relying on NGO’s and Western Aid. What Haiti needs more than anything else right now is economic growth. There is an almost unbelievable 80% unemployment rate. Coffee is one way to achieve this.
La Barba Reserve
These “Reserve” lines at La Barba are all about peculiar and unique coffees. Whether it’s a yellow honey processed Costa Rica, Colombian Gesha, or vibrantly fruity Ethiopia (coming soon, Laos!), I look for coffees that are unique and rare. In this case, this Reserve is also a coffee I feel very good about buying despite the high price. It’s one of those times when I feel like coffee really can contribute to the social good. The exportation of coffee is a cash crop for many developing countries around the world and provides a steady stream of income to farmers, laborers, and the country in general. Economic growth is one of the major factors to reducing poverty and improving quality of life in developing countries. So even though we’ve only bought a few small bags of this Haitian coffee, we hope it’s contributing to the growth of Haiti in some small way with our purchase.
As many of you probably know, I’m a huge sucker for fruity and floral coffees. I tend to gravitate towards African coffees, especially naturally processed lots. In spite of that, I’ve been working to expand my appreciation for other origins and the uniqueness they offer. I hadn’t ever had a Haitian coffee so I knew I had to give it a shot.
This coffee had a relatively mild profile, smooth and balanced. As it washed over my palate, I tasted notes of creamy peanut butter that carried and undertone of sweetness. That sweetness translated into a mild dark chocolate that lingered on the palate as the peanut butter faded.
I got this coffee right around the same time I picked up my Prismo from Fellow Products. This little attachment lets me pull shots of espresso out of my Aeropress, and it does an impressive job of it too! I promise I’ll get a post out about it soon, I just need to get to know it a little bit better. Anyway, I decided to try this Haitian coffee as an espresso and I swear it tasted just like a Reese’s peanut butter cup. The chocolate notes came out of the aftertaste and complimented the creamy peanut butter perfectly.
La Barba Coffee
I haven’t tasted anything like this peanut buttery coffee before, I’m so glad I decided to try it! While it may not be my favorite coffee ever, I really appreciate the uniqueness of the palate and the story behind the lot. If I were you, I’d head over to La Barba Coffee and sign up for their newsletter so you’ll know when Reserve #6 hits the shelves.
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