Contributed by Donna Amey of London-based Big Fish.
A new single-origin coffee brand — Alma de Cuba — is on a mission to restore Cuban coffee (once the world’s favourite) back to its rightful position.
In the 1940s, Cuba was the world’s biggest exporter of coffee, shipping 20,000 tonnes of beans every year. But by 2012, Cuban coffee production was in what seemed like terminal decline. It looked like nothing could save it.
Well, that was before Phillip Oppenheim — a former Treasury minister and card-carrying Cubaphile — got together with some old friends and coffee experts to bring Cuban coffee back into the homes of coffee lovers around the world. He asked us to help with the branding, but we were so impressed, we ended up investing in the business and becoming partners, too.
Through a carefully built partnership with the Cubans, Alma de Cuba is now working towards supplying Cuba’s mountain coffee farmers with the tools they need to help re-establish Cuba’s coffee crops once and for all.
But this isn’t just excellent news for Cuba, it’s excellent news for discerning coffee drinkers everywhere, because Cuban coffee of this quality hasn’t been readily available for 50 years. So while many people may have tasted coffee from Cuba; very few have tasted anything like this.
Grown in rich, fertile soils in the balmy climate of mountains overlooking the Caribbean, Alma de Cuba’s coffee beans flourish at an altitude of 800-1,500ft before being ripened by the cooling breeze blowing off the sea. This is known to be one of the best coffee-growing climates anywhere in the world.
Each young coffee plant is tended to each day by the mountain farmers — or ‘campesinos’ — who carefully harvest the precious cherries with un-gloved hands, ensuring each one is kept in perfect condition.
The beans are then batch roasted in small quantities and shipped to order. The end result is a uniquely smooth but strong, rich and nectarous coffee with a clean taste and medium body.
We came up with the name Alma de Cuba (soul of Cuba) and channeled the spirit of Cuban folk art (via our resident Latin American illustration genius) to create an evocative design scheme which, hopefully, has just as much soul as the coffee itself.
View more identity design on the Big Fish website.