Dr. Shardee Heinisch, a pediatric dermatology fellow in Chicago, Illinois, has started a Jamaican coffee company, Mellow Royale Café, as her way to “give back” to the nation that made an investment in her future. Heinisch launched the company in 2021, and since then, it has made its mark by being the first firm to introduce a coffee infused with sorrel. She plans to donate a percentage of the company’s proceeds to the Jamaican Dermatology Healthcare System.
Dr. Heinisch went into medicine out of a love for the people of Jamaica, and she always wanted to find ways to give back to them, adding that when she did not return to the country that had believed and invested in her, she felt an even stronger desire to do so. That was one of the reasons she started her coffee company in 2021. She wants the donation of proceeds from her entrepreneurial efforts to help others in need, “to pay it forward,” she said.
A minority woman-owned small business, Mellow Royale Café specializes in more than 100 types of tropical coffee roasts operated by Jamaicans with combined experience totaling over 30 years. Dr. Heinisch traveled to Portland, Jamaica’s Blue Mountains to debut her new sorrel-infused coffee and have it tasted by two veteran coffee experts, who recognized the flavors and uniqueness of her two favorite things: coffee and sorrel.
Sorrel is a traditional and popular beverage throughout the Caribbean, and in addition to being loved for its flavor, sorrel is also a good source of antioxidants, which can aid in preventing chronic health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. It is also cited for reducing pain and inflammation.
Dr. Heinisch was the first Jamaican physician to receive the Senior Clinical Pediatric Dermatology Fellowship with a special focus on genodermatosis, a hereditary skin disease, at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust hospitals in the United Kingdom. Dr. Heinisch received formal training in dermatology in the UK as such training was not available in the Caribbean region. She had always planned to return to Jamaica to practice medicine, but met her future husband while in the UK and moved to Chicago with him. Once in Chicago, she started training at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Dr. Heinisch’s husband, Weston, works with her at the Mellow Royale Café company.