Earlier today we published a feature titled “John McAfee Started A Coffee Company (Maybe)” – and now we can divest that feature from its tone of uncertainty. John McAfee did, indeed, start a coffee roasting company during his time in Belize, and Sprudge has tracked down the deets.
As John McAfee told Slashdot in a recent interview, his company was called New River Coffee Company. Here’s a link to a Facebook gallery featuring several of their packaging designs. The New River is the longest river in Belize.
Jen Irwin, McAfee’s former girlfriend, is the owner of Sail Away Cafe, billing itself as “The only full service coffee bar in Belize” (25 Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro, Belize). Sail Away either used to, or is still currently serving coffee roasted by New River. In a blog post from 2011, she writes:
Today is my first day working at Sail Away! My name is Jennifer Irwin and I am the new owner. I have been living in San Pedro for over two years now. When I came to San Pedro, I wanted to start a little coffee shop on the north end of the island. As time went on, plans were made. Unfortunately we didn’t quite make it open.
Upon departing for the mainland one day, we ended up running into the gentleman who pioneered Sail Away and he had informed us that his business was for sale. It was the perfect opportunity to fulfill my dream of running a coffee shop in paradise!
Today I felt like I was entering sacred ground. There are patrons who have been coming here for years. This is their hang-out, a place of gathering. Tourists arriving for the first time are able to enjoy a sort of home away from home.
A little history on Jen Irwin, via Gizmodo:
[McAfee] poured millions into a 280-acre yoga retreat in the mountains above Woodland, Colorado, where every Sunday morning he would hold complimentary classes. “Everything was free,” recalls a former student. “You would think that this guy was amazingly generous and kind, but he was getting something out of it. He was interested in being the center of attention. He was surrounded by people around him who didn’t have any money and were depending on him, and he could control them.” Among the entourage was a teenage employee named Jennifer Irwin, whom McAfee began dating.
He brought a cadre of followers, including Irwin, with him down to Rodeo, New Mexico, where he bought a ranch with an airstrip and spent millions adding lavish amenities—a cinema, a general store, a fleet of vintage cars. He started calling his entourage the Sky Gypsies.
Accompanied by a gaggle of hangers-on (including Irwin, by then 28), McAfee settled into a beachside compound on Ambergris Caye. With characteristic gusto he launched a slew of enterprises, including a coffee shop and a high-speed ferry service.
An investor who’d wanted to back the anti-quorum-sensing venture backed away. A joint-venture agreement with Dr. Louis Zabaneh, one of the country’s most powerful men, fell apart. The hangers-on drifted away. After 14 years, Irwin left him.
Sail Away Cafe either serves, or has served in the past, coffees roasted by John McAfee’s New River Coffee Company.
We have no idea if Mr. McAfee still owns New River, but we’re guessing that he’s not too hands on with the operations there these days, as he’s fled to the United States and refuses to ever return to Belize, where he’s wanted for questioning in the murder of his neighbor.
New River offers a Breakfast Blend, a Signature Espresso, and something called Organic Sunset.
Actor Faizon Love has been to Sail Away Cafe. He appears to be having a nice time.
This customer was not a fan.
There’s a number of glowing reviews on TripAdvisor. It’s ranked #45 out of 87 restaurants in San Pedro.
Again, we’re uncertain as to the current ownership relationship between John McAfee and New River Coffee Company. For all we know, he’s still running the show from his current home in Portland, Oregon, but that’s sounds kind of far-fetched. Cafe Sail Away is definitely still open for business, however – their latest Trip Advisor review is from just a few weeks ago.