I have just returned from a coffee origin trip to the Dominican Republic and I must say I have come home with an affinity for more than just their coffee. If I only had one word to describe to the DR it would be — Beautiful. The landscape is beautiful, the people are beautiful, the energy, the food, the beaches, the weather, and more. I’m not talking about refined or manufactured beauty but innate beauty. There are plenty of things there that are not so beautiful like some of the buildings or roads, and definitely not the driving, but all of that gets filtered out by its core which is just plain gorgeous.
The DR has a rich history filled with struggle and resilience having gained independence from both Spain and Haiti. Now they have the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Their history is riddled with war and resistance, as many countries tend to be, but overpowering all that are the wonderful traditions of food, dance, rum, coffee, chocolate, and… baseball which was brought over in the late 19th century and has become the national pastime.
Enough history, let's talk coffee. The Dominican has many great coffee-growing regions including the one I was there to visit, Jarabacoa. Home of the famed Ramirez Estate, it has the perfect growing conditions for high-quality specialty coffee. Ramirez Estate is a third-generation coffee farm and processing facility that has been growing coffee for 80 years. They are committed to sustainable agricultural practices as well as sustainable business practices and after visiting their facilities I realized why they are so successful, they have an amazing team.
The Dominican Republic is not unlike other coffee-producing countries in that they tend to export most of their best coffee. However, I was able to find Casa Barista Coffee Co. which sources all the good stuff from the DR including the amazing Red Honey Caturra bean from the above mentioned Ramirez Estate. Super friendly and knowledgeable staff, a creative atmosphere and an allergy-friendly menu had me frequenting them during my stay in Santo Domingo.
I was reminded on this trip how important it is for me to visit the places where our coffee comes from, and to build relationships with the teams that support our business. Coffee is about connection and I look forward to building on our newfound relationships in the Dominican Republic and hopefully bringing some of their beauty home to you.
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