Meet Tete Source Farmer Co-op, Haiti

Small Producer Co-op, Tete Source Haiti (near Thiotte)

Haiti is a small place – only slightly larger than Vermont.  It is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean where 65% of Haitian lands are vertical.  Vertical land isn’t great for most crops, but coffee thrives on it.  Haitians have been producing coffee for over 250 years; in 1949, Haiti was the world’s third largest producer of coffee.  Today, few know of Haitian coffee.  We’re doing something about that because #yourcupmatters.

Tete (as in met) Source (head of the river) is more of an area than town.  It’s situated in the South East near the Dominican border.  Farmers in this area have been growing coffee for centuries; it’s not just a tradition, this small farmer owned co-op is the livelihood for 200 families that comprise the cooperative.

In 2011, Kok ki Chante began working with this small but powerful farmer owned group.  We’ve worked with Tete Source for years for one simple reason:  they know coffee agriculture is the source of economy building in rural mountains.  They’re eager to learn and implement ideas quickly, so much so that they won Haiti’s last coffee competition:  Cup of Excellence. Why? A willingness to do things differently + the mountains are tall and cool: cooler mountain temperatures provide a slower growth cycles for coffee trees which prolongs bean development. This longer maturation process saturates beans with complex sugars, resulting in compelling flavors.

Initially, Tete Source had no warehouse to store coffee prepared across the season, but Singing Rooster (our nonprofit marketing partner in the U.S.) has used proceeds from roasted coffee sales to fund Tete Source’s modest storage facility and purchase a new depulping system. Along with providing technical assistance and coffee seedlings, we provide grainpro liners (giant, hermetically sealed plastic bags to prevent insect damage or damage from humidity).

Farmer Profile: Pastor Molvert was born in Tete Source and is married with 3 children.  Coffee farming has a long history in his family, going back generations.  He feels fortunate to have been born in a robust coffee area as income from coffee sent him to the university where he studied theology.  Along with managing a small community church, Pastor Molvert grows coffee alongside of his father; his father’s coffee won Haiti’s Cup of Excellence in 2015.  He feels Haiti has forgotten the importance of coffee but he has hope that it will again provide a path towards autonomy, “From the 60’s to the 80’s, coffee brought in many taxes and built the garment district of Port au Prince. But our government, Haitian coffee companies and farmers all failed to invest in it. Right now, we’re just surviving.  With good leaders, we will thrive.”

Coffee from Tete Source is washed Arabica and excels at Espresso application (French press & drip brew too). It is robust, rich, unparalleled. Our marketing partner / cupper in crime Singing Rooster Molly swears by this coffee. She suggests that roasting to a Full City (medium-dark roast), this coffee reveals black currants and sweet hazelnuts. This is the coffee Singing Rooster cherishes year after year. We roast it for cafes into a velour espresso (you may buy Singing Rooster’s Haitian coffee – Tete Source here).

If you’re a roaster or cafe, Haitian coffee makes the PERFECT base for espresso applications. Try a mélange of 70% Haitian & then add other origins depending on your desired outcome.

Roasting Profile: when roasted to a Full City – this coffee reveals black currant and sweet hazelnuts. This is the coffee Singing Rooster cherishes year after year. We roast it for cafes into a velour espresso. We challenge you to do the same.


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