"I started drinking café con leche with sugar from a 'sippy cup' when I was three years old," says our founder Martin Mayorga. "This seems to be a pretty standard childhood memory for people that grew up in Latin America."
For us, coffee is something that's all around us, often before we can even walk. It's an experience that is shared, whether we are three or 93.
Take a stroll down any street in Miami's Little Havana district and, chances are, you'll stumble across a ventanita: a small window serving piping-hot coladas and cortaditos to customers who eagerly chat away about everything from local gossip to Cuban politics.
¿Nos tomamos un cafecito?
For us, having a cafecito is often a ritual, a special moment, and an experience. It gives us the opportunity to discuss important things – or chismear.
The cafecito experience is part of what it means to be Latino and has crossed borders with us.
If not for hindsight, we would be hard-pressed to believe that a Jesuit priest smuggling in a coffee plant in 1723 would bring about a boom of economic development for what is now known as Colombia.
Since then, a whole culture has developed around the bean which is deeply ingrained in our identities. A culture that has, just like all other cultures, evolved over time. These changes have been witnessed by generations of Colombians whose lives are intertwined with the bean from crop to cup.
When it comes to chemicals, coffee is one of the most heavily treated food crops in the world. According to recent estimates, more than five million tons of pesticides are applied to crops globally, with around 250lbs applied per acre of conventionally grown coffee.
It's not every day that you find a coffee cooperative owned and run by women. Finca Santa María, a coffee cooperative in Aratoca, Colombia, is run by Mildred Muñoz. The key to its prosperity is its completely female farming team's revitalizing effect on gender misconceptions locally and across the coffee industry.