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Retailer offers first estate coffees.

Retailer offers first estate coffees

Gourmet coffee shops have proven to be a lure to customers, bringing them into a world of exotica and flavorful fragrances. One gourmet coffee roaster/retailer offers a romantic history that is unmatched by many. That company is J. Martinez & Company in Atlanta, Georgia where John Martinez and his wife, Melanie run their specialty shop that offers high quality coffees procured directly from coffee estates all over the world. The Martinez's specialty lies within their Jamaican roots and brings to Atlanta exotic Jamaican products to complement the store's array of fine teas and coffees.

The Martinez's story begins in 1830 when Captain Pecro Martinez del Campo sailed his schooner from his home in Valmaseda, Northern Spain, to a new life in Jamaica, trading Jamaican produce with U.S. ports. His son, Joseph Emanuel took the family interests in a new direction, supplying spices and gourmet foods to London's Fortnum & Mason in association with Myers, Jamaica's oldest producer of premium rums. His grandson, Eugene, was involved in the creation of another world-famous Jamaican product: Tia Maria, the unique coffee liqueur.

John Martinez, the fourth generation of the family and head of J. Martinez & Company, carries on this commitment to the integrity of his products. As Managing Director in Jamaica for Rothmans, one of the world's largest international tobacco enterprises, he took the company into a new venture in 1981--the growing of quality Jamaican High Mountain supreme coffee on a historic site over 2,000 feet up in the island's central mountains.

In the ensuing years, he relentlessly pursued one goal--to find a selection of the worlds finest coffees. The coffees offered by Martinez have been personally selected and purchased from the estates by him. He imports these coffees and brings them to his roaster/retailers store where they are stored under climate-controlled conditions and roasted only on the day of shipping by expert roasters, under his supervision.

Gourmet coffee drinkers now have the opportunity to experience a new concept: "estate" premium coffee.

John Martinez, proprietor and president of the new enterprise, says there's no magic or mystery to his idea. "It was bound to happen," he says, "American consumers demand and expect high quality and that's what we will be offering them."

The premium beans are delivered to the Peachtree Street emporium "green" explained the Jamaican native. "We roast and cup-test the beans on the day of shipment or sale and we guarantee that the beans you buy from us have not been blended or `cut' with beans of lesser quality." According to Martinez, one of the secrets to getting the most of top quality coffee beans lies in when they are roasted and ground. Green or unroasted beans keep their flavor for a much longer time if properly stored, and roasted beans should be ground just before the coffee is brewed.

Martinez contacted a small number of coffee planters, famous in their own countries, but not well known in the U.S., and negotiated with their respective national coffee marketing authorities. No one turned him down.

"I went to a small group of growers in the Newcastle area of the Jamaican Blue Mountains, all of whom process their beans at the historic Wallenford facility," he explained. "They guraranteed supplies of Blue Mountain coffee to the U.S. It was important," he continued, "to get this guarantee because I have watched the Japanese virtually corner the market in this prized coffee and I wanted to ensure a continual supply."

By having this guarantee for the American market, Martinez hopes to meet America's growing demand for exquisite, high quality coffees. In addition to Wallenford Blue Mountain, J. Martinez & Co. will offer another Jamaican coffee, Broomhall Estate High Mountain Supreme, from a central Jamaican mountain plantation at 2,000 feet altitude.

While Jamaica's coffee crop was devastated during Hurricane Gilbert in September 1988, the growers expect crops to normalize before 1991.

For devotees of America's prized Hawaiian Kona, John Martinez negotiated with Michael Craig, owner of the tiny six-acre rooster farm for regular supplies of Extra Fancy grade beans produced at an altitude of just over 1500 ft. using an organic process.

For partisans of Kenya AA, the company offers beans from the Miricho Estate in the Central Highlands. Noted for their rich winy flavor, until now they were almost exclusively sold to the coffee-loving sheiks of the Arabian Gulf.

Also available is a fine Arabica coffee from Guatemala's Antigua region; Tecuamburro Especial is grown on the slopes of an extinct volcano. The current line of coffees is rounded out by a newcomer to the U.S. market: Santo Domingo Oco #1 Especial. The beans of this coffee are hand-picked for quality on the Font Gamundi Estate in the Dominican Republic's central mountain range. Other quality lines will be added during the next 12 months.

J. Martinez & Company is located at 3230A Peachtree Road, N.E., in Atlanta. Visitors are welcome to watch beans being roasted and by appointment, to participate in the traditional testing of coffees from shallow porcelain cups. A selection of top-quality Scottish teas and a limited range of British and Caribbean preserves and spices also are available.

PHOTO : Exterior and interior of J. Martinez & Co. in Atlanta

PHOTO : John Martinez samples orgin coffees in his storeroom.

PHOTO : Martinez packages his own coffee which is roasted and shipped the same day.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:J. Martinez & Company
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Sep 1, 1989
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