Restaurant notes: La Colombe scores some Haitian

Todd Carmichael with the haul in La Colombe's Philly warehouse.

La Colombe owners Todd Carmichael and Jean Philippe Iberti are starting to share their stash of 40,000 kilos of Haitian Blue Forest, an heirloom coffee variety that is grown semiwild in the mountains of Haiti.

Free tastings will be offered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 18 at their Rittenhouse Square shop (130 S. 19th St.). Carmichael describes the flavor as "Ethiopia meets Costa Rica."

Carmichael traveled to the impoverished country a couple of months ago to strike up business deals with the small farmers.

Since then, Carmichael says he and Iberti have returned to extend grants and loans to the farmers and community and to open a new trade route from the mountains through Port au Prince. A portion of the profits will be returned to the villages and farms of this region, he said. (See video below.)

La Colombe expects to open its next cafe, across from City Hall on the ground floor of the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton (15th Street and South Penn Square), on April 28.

p.s. In a package in The Inquirer on Thursday, March 17, Craig LaBan does a cup-by-cup account of his high-wired romp across the city in search of the best coffee shops.