At west elm, we’re very proud of our commitment to the Hand/Eye fund and support of the work of local artisans in places like Haiti. This season, we’ve expanded our support of Haitian industry with the help of the coffee roasters at Philadelphia-based La Colombe Torrefaction. La Colombe owner and coffee enthusiast Todd Carmichael wants to fix Haiti with coffee — and we want to help!
Three hundred years ago, Haiti was among the top coffee-producing countries in the world. Its economy was virtually run on the stuff. But when Haiti declared its independence from France in 1804, coffee production, along with the rest of the country’s industries, came nearly to a halt. — Peter Martin
La Colombe seeks out the best coffee in the world and recently that search took co-founder Todd Carmichael to Haiti. Once a key part of the Haitian economy, coffee production is now rare and the infrastructure to support efficient international trade is one of the biggest challenges Haiti faces. Todd and La Colombe want to encourage the growth of the Haitian coffee industry to start to change the economy of Haiti and the future for Haitian farmers. To get a sense of Todd’s enthusiasm for coffee and his commitment to the farmers, watch this video from La Colombe:
Blue Forest, an heirloom typica variety, is grown semi-wild in the mountains of Haiti, a rare and historical coffee as it comes from an unaltered line traced back to the first plant cultivated outside of Ethiopia. What’s more, Blue Forest is the only Haitian coffee in America, of specialty grade.
The rare Haitian coffee — Haiti Blue Forest — is now available at west elm, both online and in stores. We think it’s a great product for a great cause — don’t you?
Esquire Magazine recently included Todd in their “Americans of the Year” feature. Check out his ideas for the future of Haiti and the coffee industry in Peter Martin’s piece (November 2011): Esquire Magazine | Can You Save Haiti With Coffee? [PDF]