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Where to drink coffee in Haiti

Cafe Koze, Jacmel

Photo: Frank Fontain

Coffee is the lifeblood of Haitians

From the highest hills of Fermathe to the remote provinces of the North and South, coffee has an important place in individual and communal life in Haiti.

 

It brings families together before they break apart for the day. It brings neighborhoods together. Real Haitian coffee, though, is nothing like American coffee.

 

What makes Haitian coffee unique?

For coffee connoisseurs, Haitian roasted and brewed coffee is an eyebrow-raising experience. If you can find a street vendor going through the process of making traditional Haitian coffee out in the open, you’re in for a treat. The beans are roasted with a little sugar and then laid out to dry (think peanut brittle made with coffee beans).

 

They are then pounded into a fine powder using an enormous (waist-high!) mortar and pestle called a pilon. To brew the coffee they place the powder into a gref, which is a reusable alternative to a coffee filter, sewn from cheese cloth sewn into the shape of a sock (don’t worry – it’s not as bad as it sounds). The coffee grounds are boiled in the gref while heaps of sugar is added, until they have the perfect brew. Delicious!

 

Not keen on the sound of all that sugar? Most cafes offer Italian-style espresso as well - often using beans grown right here in Haiti.

 

So, where do you go when you want to get coffee like the locals? These cafes are our favourite places to grab either American-style or Haitian coffee. Enjoy!

01. Angel Touch Café

If you are looking for a more elevated coffee experience, stop by Angel Touch Café in Pétion-Ville. With their generous portions and diverse menu spanning decadent hot and iced varieties of coffee, Angel Touch is the spa retreat of coffee shops in Port-au-Prince. As well as great coffee, you'll find smoothie bowls, fresh OJ, and some truly creative, colorful, healthy smoothies.

 

 

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02. Épi d’Or

With branches in Delmas, Pétion-Ville, and downtown Port-au-Prince, Épi d’Or is one of the most popular places to grab a bite to eat. For your coffee cravings, we recommend that you make it to the largest branch, located in Delmas. With options ranging from down-to-earth black coffee to iced and flavored delicacies, it is a great, accessible introduction to Haitian coffee.

03. Marie Béliard

In the heart of Pétion-Ville, Marie Béliard offers a delightful café experience, with the pastries to top it all off. It’s a great option whether you are looking for a quick cup of joe on your way to someplace else, or if you have the time to sit, sip, and savor. The beautiful French café décor makes for a one of a kind, bon vivant coffee experience.

 

 

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04. Mountain Maid

The mountainous area of Fermathe is the closest you will get to the source, at least if you’re sticking to Port-au-Prince and surrounds. Most of the coffee trees in the capital region grow here. Stop by Mountain Maid – more commonly known as Kay Walas (Wallace’s Place, in Kreyòl), for some rich, no-nonsense coffee. The beautiful mountain scenery makes for one of the best cups of coffee the city has to offer.

05. Brasserie Quartier Latin

For a quick midday pick-me-up, Quartier Latin is the place to go. Located by Place Boyer in Pétion-Ville, Quartier Latin’s quaint and picturesque setting feels like walking into the home of a dear friend. The flavorful house coffee is some of the best in the city, and is best savored outside on the patio.

 

 

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Nutella Bacon French Toast #❤ #sundayfunday #getouttabedalready #nutella #bacon #delicious #digin

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06. Jacmel: Hôtel de la Place

If you happen to be in Jacmel, we recommend the coffee at Hôtel de la Place. Right in the heart of the city, the Hôtel is an oasis of calm. Morning toast and coffee is best enjoyed on the balcony overlooking the public square while the city wakes up. Afterwards, make your way to the arts center or to one of Jacmel’s many beaches.

07. Jacmel: Kafe Koze

Kick back at the chilled-out Cafe Koze, where you can people-watch over a good cup of coffee and mouth-watering homemade rum-and-raisin ice-cream.  They usually have a big spread of homemade cakes on offer as well as serving up savoury dishes and fresh salads for lunch, plus live music on occasion.

 

 

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08. Cap-Haïtien: Boukanye

Waking up in Cap-Haïtien? Break your fast at Boukanye with a delicious cup of rich, black coffee – or iced coffee, if that’s more up your alley. For a place that draws a significant crowd at lunch and party hours, Boukanye offers a warm, homey setting in the morning – the perfect place to enjoy a brew.

 

 

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Written by Kelly Paulemon.

 

Published June 2019


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