Cuba, besides baseball, tourism and cigar, is well known for its coffee production and culture. In Miami, where Cuban coffee has become popular, some people are under the impression that coffee is only produced in Cuba and any coffee from another country is inferior.
However, this claim is incorrect as coffee from other countries in the world including Haiti is also acknowledged as one of the best. To date, not many are aware Haiti also has a strong coffee culture. In light of this, sisters and business partners Joann and Raynalda Milord have set out to popularize Haitian coffee in the world, starting from Miami, a top city for coffee lovers.
To do this, they formed Welcome to Little Haiti to show Miami how good Haitian coffee can be. Their mission is to help make Haitian coffee as well-known as Cuban coffee.
Also, Haiti has its own rich history with coffee, therefore, establishing a coffee company feels like a natural progression, Joann, a former director for the Miami Haitian Chamber of Commerce, told Miami New Times. “Coffee is something that’s enjoyable to everyone, no matter what culture or ethnicity you’re from.”
Haiti’s coffee culture can be traced back to the 1700s when a French naval officer brought the first coffee seedlings to Martinique and its neighboring islands. Since then, coffee has become the island’s most successful crop, including sugar and indigo processing.
Until recently, Haiti was the third-largest producer of coffee worldwide but devastating natural events like drought and earthquakes and political unrest led to the decline of coffee production in the Caribbean nation.
Joann and Raynalda are determined to reposition Haitian coffee on the global map with their first roast which for now, can be purchased on the Welcome to Little Haiti online store. They named their first roast as Bonjour Blend, made of 100 percent Haitian Arabica beans.
“I remember having my own little coupe to drink coffee when I was a kid in Haiti. That’s how we were all raised,” Joann said. “Today, I’m accustomed to drinking a dark-roasted coffee, so I wanted to make sure the Bonjour Blend was representative of what we know at home, while also being palatable to the masses.”
Bonjour Blend is obtained from small farms. The beans are cultivated, harvested, and processed following the same traditional methods that have been in place for more than 250 years, according to Miami Times.
“The process results in a smooth, dark, smoky flavor that has notes of raw bittersweet chocolate,” Joann said. “If you’re ready venture outside the Cuban colada, this is a coffee for you.”