Introducing the Dominican Republic’s First Specialty Coffee Roaster, Gente de la Isla

Gente de la Isla

Coffee producing countries are beginning to roast and serve craft coffee. We recently came across an exciting new roastery in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic that is introducing specialty coffee to the Caribbean nation. As we learned more we became intrigued by Coral and Edouard, the wife and husband team behind Gente de la Isla. Naturally, we felt an interview was in order.

Tell us a little bit about Gente de la Isla. Who are you? What do you do?
Gente de la Isla is a specialty coffee roastery. We also bake our all natural granola and are currently working on developing other breakfast products. Everything is hand made by a small team of 4. We distribute our products via our online store and through 15 small resellers in Santo Domingo. We organize tastings and coffee tasting workshops.

What inspired you to start the Dominican Republic’s first specialty coffee roaster?
My husband and I (Coral) met in London in 2008 during our graduate studies and decided soon after that we wanted to develop a project were gastronomy, health and cultural identity came together. Edouard is French and I am Dominican. We moved to Paris and started working in our fields (international law and communication). While I was working at UNESCO, I realized that I wanted to come back to the Dominican Republic and work with coffee. Coffee is regarded by Dominicans as a source of national pride and as one of the key products in our traditional gastronomy. Nevertheless, the coffee consumed in the Dominican Republic is only the exchange grade coffee left in the country after all of the higher graded coffee has been exported mainly to the USA, France and Japan.
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While in Paris, we left our jobs and got certified as roasters, baristas and tasters at La Cafeotheque. We worked there for a while and came back to the DR with the intention of starting a Specialty Roastery that would allow us to build a platform where we could teach Dominicans about the specialty coffee culture, work directly with Dominican coffee growers to encourage quality by funding technical aids and paying higher prices for higher quality coffee and offer the best coffee in the city for those visiting. We have been operating for 8 months. We are very excited with the results and we are currently working to open our first coffee shop by the end of 2015.
Do you only roast coffee from the Dominican Republic?
We only roast Dominican coffee. We are trying to have at least one coffee from every producing region in the country so that we can showcase the diversity of Dominican coffee. Most people don’t even know that there are more than 10 producing regions in such as small territory.
How do you source your coffee? Do you work directly with any of your coffee producers?
We are currently working directly with 2 producers. We are very happy with the results and every month we are meeting with new producers. We hope we can establish long lasting relationships with each of the producers and grow together.
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Where’s the best place to drink your coffee in Santo Domingo?
For the moment, the best place to drink our coffee is a small café called Cafe 401. Hopefully by the time you get to Santo Domingo, you will be able to try it directly from us in our coffee shop at the Colonial City.

2 thoughts on “Introducing the Dominican Republic’s First Specialty Coffee Roaster, Gente de la Isla

  1. Buenas tardes yo soy un joven interesado en aprenden maa sobte el mundo del cafe, quisiera saber si no hacen cursos de tostado y alguna otro mas como de grano verde o ya sobre el barismo Muchas gracias

  2. I just came back from the Dominican on an 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise. I actually met Edouard at the craft market where he was giving out samples of his chocolates and coffee. One taste and I was instantly hooked on this amazing coffee!! I bought three bags and three chocolates and I’m perusing the internet on how to get my hands on more because I’m going to be sad once it’s gone! This was my first time to the Dominican and hopefully not my last!

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