Attention, Coffee Lovers! If you’ve been dreaming about the perfect cup of rich, dark espresso, an enticingly creamy cappuccino or perhaps just a decent cup o’ joe; dream no more! It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, and then sit down and enjoy it…at Market Garden’s Double Dutch Café in Simpson Bay.
You probably know the Market Garden Supermarket as the popular grocery spot where freshness is unsurpassed. The impressive architecture of the Commodore Boutique Hotel crowns the building where Market Garden inhabits the ground floor. You may have even stopped by for a lunch-to-go from their amazing salad bar; but manager May Li has expanded the in-store eatery and has placed a primary focus on high-end coffees.
She has hired a trained barista from Holland, Christian Peper, to manage the coffee service. With Christian at the helm of the espresso machine, there is no doubt that the brew is exceptional. “I’ve been all over the island, and sampled all the coffee available, and no one is doing it right. You have to respect the coffee, develop the flavour profile – plus you have to use a good purified water and, very important, clean the machine regularly.”
Christian comes by this attention to detail honestly. He holds degrees in chemical engineering, computer science and internet technologies. He is also trained as a chef and a sommelier. “I’m just really good with flavours,” he stated simply during a visit at the café. He explained the evolution of coffee with an authority that reveals his passion for the subject.
Although the world’s most popular beverage has been around for centuries, its actual origin is the stuff of myth. One account involves a Sufi mystic traveling in Ethiopia, who observed birds of unusual vitality, and upon trying the berries that the birds had been eating, experienced the same vitality. Sheep herders noticed their flock acting in a particularly frisky manner, so they sampled the berries of the trees they had been eating. Some hunter-gatherer collected some odd berries and brought them in to share, but the chief said they were worthless and threw them on the fire; the aroma caught the tribe’s attention and they began to experiment with them. Whatever the truth is, coffee was discovered early on, and the effects of its aroma, flavour and simulative properties made it hard to forget.
Historians point to Ethiopia as the beginnings of the drink, but the monasteries of Yemen appear to be the first record of cultivating coffee and using it for energy and as an aid to concentration. The Sufi word qahwa became the Turkish work kahve and from there, the Dutch word Koffie evolved. By the 16th century, the beverage was becoming well known in Europe; and by the 17th century, the Dutch were bringing plantation-grown coffee to the European marketplace from Ceylon and Indonesia. Coffee houses were popular meeting places across the continent by this time, but home brewing was unknown.
That ended by the 19th century, Christian explained, when the modern era of coffee came about. Modern coffee, he enthused, has come in three waves of popularity. The first wave is when coffee became industrialized. This was the mid-19th century. It was produced on a massive scale, no longer something people had to go to the coffee house for; they could make it at home. Herein lie the roots of companies such as Folgers and Maxwell House that dominated the marketplace for generations. Still in the first wave, around 1884, the espresso machine was invented in France. Espresso machines changed dramatically across the decades, being perfected by the Italians in the early 20th century.
Beginning in about the 1960s, the second wave of coffee came about. This is when coffee became a social lubricant that offered warmth and comfort over which people could gather to have conversations. “Why don’t we grab a cup of coffee?” became a commonly heard phrase. This second wave has continued through recent years.
Coffee’s third wave
The third wave of coffee is the specialty coffee trend, and it is a brand new trend, an appreciation of every aspect of the journey from grower to harvester to roasting, to the treatment in packaging, shipping and, of course, the brewing.
Specialty coffee is a bit pricier than traditional coffee, but the reward is a beverage of a much higher quality. This new wave of baristas and distributors works with the farmers to re-educate them about their methods of growing and harvesting the coffee berries. Growers are encouraged to select only the ripe fruit of the coffee trees instead of the mass-production method of gathering all the fruit for processing, ripe or not.
Like appreciating craft beer or single malt whisky, specialty coffee drinkers are interested in where and how the coffee is grown and who has grown it, as well as who roasted it and using what methods. While most coffee is a blend of variously-sourced coffees, the third wave aficionados seek out single-origin coffees. These enthusiasts focus deeply on nuances of aroma and flavour such as body, acidity, tartness, richness and mellowness – all characteristics that will vary depending on the factors of temperature, light, humidity and elevation of the crop, as well as the effects of slow roasting.
The desire to detect the interplay of these factors on the palate is a prime motivation for fans of specialty coffee. It makes perfect sense when you consider that coffee has 1,500 aromatic/flavour profiles that can be appreciated, while the much-celebrated drink of wine has fewer than 500. And coffee has caffeine!
“Water matters a lot,” Christian emphasized. “Great beans grown with care and picked mindfully, the processing of the green beans and the third wave roaster doing the slow roast of 15-20 minutes are critical. It must be to a light- or medium-roast, never a dark roast, which can promote a secondary cracking of the bean. Storing roasted beans in temperature-controlled environments, grinding on demand and an immediate brewing of the coffee seconds before it gets in your hand.”
Almost as an afterthought, Christian added, “And I haven't even started talking about choosing the milk for my coffees. There are many options, such as dairy milk, soy milk, almond milk and rice milk. Third wave coffee has literally touched every single part of the entire supply chain of coffee from the tree it grows on to the cup you drink it from.”
Come out to Double Dutch Café at Market Garden, meet Christian Peper and taste his unique approach to coffee. He has lately been brewing a Rwandan coffee with a soft medium roast, imported by Malongo. They also have a brew made from Ethiopian coffee beans from the Sidamo region. Visit and “like” the Double Dutch Café SXM facebook page to keep up with each new offering at Market Garden. The café is open 7:00am until 5:00pm for the time being, with later hours coming soon.