Trying Amavida Coffee

I’ve been waiting for a good reason to do so, but now that my beans are gone, there are no visitors scheduled to arrive anytime soon and I really don’t enjoy local supermarket coffee, I had to find a new supplier.

Now, from my experience at the Marketgarden supermarket, I know that Carib Bean Company in Antigua is a good, local and reliable supplier. They make fabulous blends that have stood the test of time, roast on-demand and deliver via airfreight. Fast, but expensive. So I need an alternative. Maybe it can be achieved cheaper, better coffee or faster?

Amavida coffee roasters

So I ordered a couple of small 8-12oz sample orders from Amavida in Miami. I use a US mailbox address that can repack multiple orders into one small package and forward that via boat, DHL or Fedex. MyMalls is fast and reliable but also not as cheap as using local shipping companies such as SCS, Tropical or the Mailbox. However, for fresh roasted coffee it must be fast.

The tropical heat and humidity kill off roasted beans in 15 min when left exposed to air!

So Amavida it is and I’m very excited! They were awarded “Roaster of the Year” in 2018, so my expectations are very high! I hope they equal or surpass my experience with the Ethiopia single origin from Evermore in Rotterdam!

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Sourcing coffee beans, next stage

The story continues…

After choosing two US coffee roasters from the short list of four for Double Dutch Café, we have entered the next stage.

  • Amavida.com (Florida)
  • Batdorfcoffee.com (Washington)
  • Carib Bean Coffee (Antigua)

We’re ordering samples from both suppliers, determine how the ordering process works and how we must handle the logistics of getting the fresh roasted beans from the warehouse in Miami to Sint Maarten. I trust they will deliver them appropriately to Miami but the warehouse must store them in a temperature controlled environment and ship them in the same way.

It will be learning experience for everyone on our side, because coffee is usually not treated with this much care.

Sourcing Great Coffee Beans for Sint Maarten

Getting good coffee on this island is a challenge. That’s funny because we live right in the middle of the some of the world’s best coffee countries. So you’d expect a larger selection. Sadly, the opposite is true.

While every coffee selling business here seems to focus on making coffee from cups (Nespresso, Lavazza, Illy) and the local population mostly used to and stuck with cheap, large scale, commercially produced filter coffee such as Santa Domingo ground coffee, very few places have whole coffee beans to begin with.

When I started to make an inventory of the equipment needed to create a Specialty Coffee shop on St Maarten, I immediately noticed the lack of good grinders & espresso machines, long delivery times, uncertain product availability and total lack of good single-origin coffee beans. Malongo, a large French roaster with a presence on the French side of this island (Saint Martin) was the exception. Sadly, their stock was low, the beans old (almost a year after packaging date, no roast date mentioned anywhere!) and the selection limited to four countries: Brasil, Colombia, Rwanda, Ethiopia. And they had just survived hurricane Irma as well but I have no idea how good or bad their stock survived that storm.

So I am doing what everybody here does: if you can’t get it here and people won’t get it for you, you find and buy it yourself in the US, send it to Miami, FL, and have it shipped here by one of the several shipping companies that visit the island at least twice week. Here’s the list of roasters that I’ve contacted and who’ve replied to me they’d be interested in selling us beans at wholesale:

I’m very excited to make a choice from these wonderful companies, their coffee descriptions online give me a lot of confidence that they are indeed “Third Wave Roasters” and take quality seriously. I still have an order coming in from Malongo that will last a while, but their orders take 2 months to fulfill and that’s simply too long. I contacted Smit & Dorlas in Curaçao but they don’t have single origin coffees, only blends – but can ship these in 2 weeks -, and blends are not what I want to serve in the Double Dutch Cafe for black coffees, if at all possible.

I will blog about the progress that I’m making in getting serious coffee to St Maarten and having people take coffee more seriously on this island. 🙂