Coffee in Haiti
Haiti, Land of Coffee
For years, Haiti was the largest exporter of coffee in the Caribbean. A small mountainous country, Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Coffee was introduced to Haiti in the mid-eighteenth century, under the French colony.
High altitudes and the soil favored the expansion of quality coffee. In the 1970s, production reached 700.000 bags per year, of which 500.000 were intended for export. Today, production and exports have decreased significantly: annual local production reaching only 450.000 bags of 200 to 250.000 for local consumption, from 15 to 30.000 bags exported in a formal manner, and the rest through an informal exportation by border crossings to feed the burgeoning gourmet coffee roasting industry in the DR.Today the Dominican Republic has replaced Haiti as the largest exporter of coffee in the Caribbean. However, coffee remains one of the most promising sectors of the country.
A local tradition
Domestic consumption amounted to 210,000 bags, but only 9% of this volume is processed industrially. The vast majority of Haitians themselves treat their own coffee. Coffee is a tradition here: very roasted, it is drunk strong and sweet. This traditional and « artisanal » coffee consumption makes it difficult to penetrate the coffee market with coffee prepared industrially.