Julie and the kids gave me for my birthday today what is likely to be the last wallet I will ever own. It is a thing of strength and beauty, and I am so happy to own it. Dave Munson, the Saddleback Leather owner, put his card into the wallet he sent. The brand’s motto: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” I bet they will. This thing is going to outlive everything but Cher and cockroaches.
“We started researching pre–Civil War coffee in the South, and it became pretty evident that some of the country’s best coffee was coming straight into New Orleans,” says Carmichael, who founded Philadelphia-based roaster La Colombe Torrefaction with Iberti in 1994. “We assumed it was all chicory, but it turned out the South was drinking coffee from Haiti two hundred years before chicory was even introduced to the region.” Now, after fourteen long months of development and eight trips to Haiti this year alone, Carmichael and Iberti have introduced Louisiane, a custom blend dedicated to the South.
Friends who bonded over coffee in Seattle in the mid-1980s, Carmichael and Iberti started La Colombe with the goal of producing “culinary coffee,” blends with depth and consistency that would work with, not against, food. They’ve since earned a following among high-profile chefs, including Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud. But to create a blend for the South, they first had to track down the bean that was historically significant to the region. Using shipping records from the 1700s, Carmichael traced the original bean back to Blue Forest, a semi-wild heirloom ‘Typica’ variety grown in the mountains of Haiti, whose once-booming coffee industry had faded into near-dormancy. “Haiti had gone off the map for so long as a coffee producer you just didn’t even think about it,” he says. “But the beans and the potential are still there.”
I like my food to have a story behind it. But more than anything, I like my food to taste good. No kidding, this is some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. Now I have to figure out how to afford having it more often.