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About Haitian Coffee

Haiti is a small place - only slightly larger than Vermont. Plus, much of it is vertical: 65%. Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean.

Mountains aren't good for most agriculture, but they're IDEAL for coffee growing; coffee trees thrive in moist but well-drained soil at high altitudes. The higher the altitude, the bigger/harder the bean, the better the coffee.

Because coffee trees are water-intensive, they do best growing in shade. Fruit trees provide ideal canopies where fruit becomes additional food. Moreover, coffee plays an important role in the reforestation of Haiti.

Although small, Roosters are tenacious. We're quickly building a network with small-scale farmer cooperatives; we source coffee from all major coffee regions in Haiti.

Haitian coffee is a classic Caribbean in every sense -- chocolatety sweet with mellow citrus-highlights. It’s a perfect cup for those who like to ease into the day or relax with coffee after work. If you’re a fan of Jamaican Blue Mountain and Kona / Hawaiian coffees, you’ll love Haitian.

[brief] History of Haitian Coffee :

Gabriel de Clieu brought coffee seedlings to Martinique around 1720. Those sprouts flourished, and 50 years later there were 18,000 coffee trees enabling Jesuits to spread cultivation to Haiti, Mexico and other Caribbean Islands.

Because of the world's taste for coffee, French colonial plantations relied heavily on African slave laborers. In 1788, Haiti supplied half the world's coffee.

Dreadful slave conditions and brutality resulted in the first successful slave revolution in 1804. After independence, coffee remained one of Haiti’s major export crops, peaking around 1850. In the 1940's Haiti's coffee sector made a brief comeback where in 1949, Haiti was the third largest coffee exporter in the world. Thereafter, like before, coffee production and exportation made rapid declines.

Since 1950, Haitian coffee, once again, has been forgotten for many reasons:

  • Political instability / the brutal dictatorship of the Duvalier years, 1957-1986, brought about economic demise - including coffee exports.
  • Like many countries, after the collapse of the International Coffee Agreement in 1989, coffee production fell with the onset of low market prices.
  • During the U.S. embargo in the mid 1990s [boycotting the Aristead regime], many farmers burned coffee trees to make charcoal [Haitians buy charcoal at the market to use as cooking fuel].
  • Decades of political unrest and government corruption made farmers too afraid to come down from the mountains to sell crops.
  • Between 2000 and 2001, worldwide oversupply caused coffee prices to drop to their lowest levels in 100 years.
  • Over time, Haitian farmers lost skills needed to grow, harvest, and process coffee, and Brazil eventually cornered the regional market, aided by modern facilities.

Seeds for an upswing in Haitian coffee production were planted in the 90's when better coffee processing plants were developed. Ensuring growers a good price by cutting out local middlemen and selling directly to the United States also made things better. Furthermore, training in land management, shade canopies and coffee seedling programs launched practices that, today, are bearing fruits of long and hard labor.

In spite of near collapse, coffee continues as a backbone of Haiti's economy; Haitians have a resiliency to weather, corruption and political unrest.

Great article on coffee production process.

We're working to sustain ourselves solely on coffee sales. It's long, hard work, but we're getting there SLOWLY. Your Donation will help us to implement our comprehensive vision faster:

  1. help coffee cooperatives to build their own working capital
  2. coffee & fruit tree seedling nurseries = sources of income
  3. land management/coffee waste training = better coffee, higher prices
  4. coffee harvesting, processing = better coffee, higher prices
  5. training in small business management skills

Learn more about how we support Haitian coffee farmers >>

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Fun Facts about Coffee:

Coffee was first consumed in Ethiopia around 850 A.D.

The word "coffee" is derived from an Arab word, qahwa, which means literally: "that which prevents sleep."

Coffee reached Europe after first spreading throughout the Muslim world.

Initially, coffee was sold by pharmacists. The first coffee shop was located in Constantinople and opened in the 15th century.

Haitian coffee can drive you mad!

Vincent Van Gogh spent hours in coffee shops and once said: “I have tried to show the café as a place where one can go mad.”

Know anyone who cut off an ear after drinking Haitian coffee?

When Pope Clement VIII tried coffee, he enjoyed it so much that he baptized the drink, making it acceptable for all Catholics to consume. Amen.

After water, coffee is the most popular beverage in the world. 3,400 cups of coffee are consumed every second around the world. Over 400 billion cups are consumed every year; the United States consumes 35% of the world’s coffee. Gulp.

A September 2010-published survey by CareerBuilder and Dunkin' Donuts found :

  • 32% of workers say they depend on coffee to make it through the day; 43% of coffee drinkers say they're less productive without a cup of coffee on the job
  • Nurses and physicians say they need coffee the most
  • Surprise! Tampa is America's most caffeinated city
Haitian coffee can reduce wrinkles


Taking a bath in coffee grounds fermented with pineapple pulp is a traditional Japanese therapy for reducing wrinkles.

The irony? Soaking too long in this mixture will actually give you wrinkles.

People who buy coffee primarily at drive through windows spend 45 hours a year waiting in line.

Heavy taxes on tea imposed by British Empire forced a shift towards coffee in America; in fact, some have traced the planning of the American revolution to coffee houses.

Turks believed coffee was an aphrodisiac.

Haitian coffee - an aphrodisiac?

The expression “a cup of Joe” was coined during WWII, when American servicemen (G.I. Joe) were identified as big coffee drinkers.

The coffee industry employs over 25 million people.

Coffee, after oil, is the second largest commodity traded in the world: $60 billion per year.

Caffeine is listed as a prohibited substance by the International Olympic Committee: if one tests positive for 12 micrograms of caffeine per millimeter of urine, which can be reached with 5 cups of coffee, he/she would be banned from participation.

The two most commonly cultivated varieties of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is preferred for its smooth and rich taste. Robusta is used most often to make instant coffee.

Instant coffee was invented more than a hundred years ago in 1906 by a Belgian named George Washington.

All 53 countries that grow coffee are between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Lick a cup of Haitian coffee today.

Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer and created a postage stamp in 2001 that smells like coffee.

Now that's scratch-n-sniff.

The method of roasting and brewing determines how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee. While darker roasts seem stronger, they actually have less caffeine than lighter roasts.

Espresso is simply a different way of preparation: espresso machines force high-pressure water through coffee grounds.

Coffee cuppers have identified over 600 unique flavors in coffee - rivaling unique flavors in wine. The flavor of coffee is dependent on type of plant, region, climate, and is influenced by the way it is dried, stored and roasted.

Coffee has its own holiday in Ireland (September 19) and Japan (October 1st).

In 1734, Bach wrote an opera titled The Coffee Cantata. The heroine sings: "Coffee is more delicious than a thousand kisses and sweeter than muscatel wine.”

1,000 kisses? Surely NOT. Muscatel wine? That's more believable.

Haitian coffee - a German opera?

Starbuck was the name of the first mate in Melville’s classic Moby Dick.

Adding coffee grounds to soil help plants grow and recover if they are sick.

The roots of the coffee tree can extend 20-25 km in total length, and the absorbing surface of a tree ranges from 400 to 500 m2. There are main vertical roots, tap roots, and lateral roots which grow parallel to the ground. Their root structure makes them ideal for reforestation in Haiti. Coffee beans are the added bonus.

Coffee beans are really seeds.

Haitian coffee beans are beautiful!

The best for last? According to WebMd, coffee's presumed health benefits include :

  • cutting the risk of type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's
  • coffee drinkers are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's
  • at least 2 cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis, and a 50% reduced risk of gallstones
  • there's evidence that coffee may help manage asthma, stop a headache, boost mood, and prevent cavities

100% of Singing Rooster's efforts go BACK to Haiti; we provide direct assistance to rural coffee farming communities through interrelated support for the sake of self-sustainability, dignity and economic autonomy.

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Singing Rooster is a registered 501 (c)3 nonprofit and established social enterprise. We provide on-the ground assistance and direct market access to coffee farming communities in Haiti for the sake of self-sustainability, dignity & economic autonomy. We meet then EXCEED principles of fair trade.

We partner with small scale, farmer-owned cooperatives to help cultivate and process high quality, gourmet Haitian coffee. Then we buy / export crops at premium prices and create new markets for it: roasted coffee, green coffee beans for home or commercial roasters, fundraising with coffee, and wholesale coffee to commercial roasters, cafes, and stores.

By helping farmers to improve crops, paying premium prices for those crops and then transforming and marketing those crops on behalf of farmers, we've created a direct farmer-to-table model for rural communities. We return 100% of proceeds of coffee sales back to farmers and their communities for continued economic development.

Singing Rooster Haitian Coffee is a gold star member of GuideStar

Corporate: 2400 Waunona Way, Madison Wisconsin 53713


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