A Growing Passion
This is a long one, bare with me. :)
When I was little, my mom, grandma and other relatives would make my brothers and I 'cafe con leche' in the morning or before bed with crackers. It took me some time to actually discover what exactly was in a 'cafe con leche' and then I realized it consists of something different to people depending on where they're from or how they were taught. This happens pretty often. This world is full of different cultures, a variety of tastes, assortments of flavor, multiple languages, all types of sizes and shapes, and a whole bunch of other diversity traits. Nevertheless, we are all very much alike, too. For example, our interest in coffee, which has brought us together right this very moment.
As I grew up I was given the privilege to travel. I traveled often mainly because my brothers and I played on travel soccer teams and also because I have parents who value time spent away together. Family vacations were done right in our family of five. In addition, my dad is a sales guy and travels for a living, which has allowed him to realize how much traveling and getting to know other cultures really benefitted his life, and ours.
I traveled to Amsterdam, Holland for the first time when I was 17 years old. It was my first time in Europe. My mom, my aunt, and myself tagged along on my dads business trip. It was such a different culture over there. There were people walking all around town, there were so many bicycles and public transportation. I was amazed by a parking garage made specifically and only for bikes. SO cool. Everyone was so friendly and approachable. Lots of beautiful canals and boat homes, which amused me. There were also a lot of boutique bakeries and coffee shops (not those types of coffee shops, I mean actual coffee, for drinking). They were each those mom and pop owned unique places that brought a different vibe or mood but all being very pleasant.
That first trip to Europe, which was right before my senior year of high school, was when I knew I wanted to start my own business. My very own mom and pop place. I thought about it often, I doodled on my notes in class but I never really developed solid plans. Until I went on my second trip to Europe. This was the summer right before my freshmen year of college. I went to Sweden, France, England, and Spain with my family. This time I needed to visit all the cafes and bakeries, I took pictures, I analyzed the menus, I saved business cards from the places I really enjoyed, I wrote ideas in my notebook, and I started to really think about the whole "business thing."
So then, I went off to college to play Division 1 varsity soccer in Boston, Massachusetts where I decided to change my major 3 times in a matter of 2 years. I took mostly business classes and other subjects which usually bored me. During my free time, when I didn't have practice or lift or other team meetings or class, I walked the city in search of unique locations to eat, shop, or sit and drink coffee. I always took pictures and remembered specific details from places that made an impact on me. Still, I continued to jot things down, draw pictures, and come up with a few new ideas.
Next, fast forward 2 years. I moved back home from Boston and decided to take some time off school to "figure it all out." During that time off I went to Colombia for about 2 months and then Scotland for about 3 weeks. In Colombia, I met my dad's cousin, Jesus Armando Bedoya, and discovered one of my favorite places, ever. Cafe Jesus Martin, is a coffee house I went to daily in Salento, Colombia and fell in love with. Jesus and his family are the proud owners. I couldn't have been happier to discover this amazing place. I become so sure that I found what it was I wanted my business to be. I fell in love with coffee, the joy it brings, the connections I made, and all the flavors it brought into my life. I learned as much as I could those 2 months in Colombia. After my time in Colombia, I went to Scotland where I looked up coffee shops to go to and places to visit where I would continue learning. I even took a full day barista class, which I attended with my mother. We learned the basics of making espresso and steaming milk. Funny story actually: my mom does not like to waste anything so while we are practicing on pulling espresso shots and steaming milk, she is drinking each and every drink she prepares. We were there for about 7 hours...let's just say she drank a ton of espresso and milk. More than half way through she starts to feel the affects of the espresso and long story short started drinking solely water because she was "going to have a heart attack."
So, after my "time off" I went back to school. This time I knew exactly what it was I wanted to do. I want to own a coffee house. I want it to be my home, to be a home for many people; A place where anyone can sit down, enjoy the moment, drink special coffee and create more stories, together. I finally graduated with a Bachelors degree in marketing and I am finally dedicating all my time and money towards this, right here.
Coffee is a world of it's own. There is so much to know, learn, create, grow, admire, taste, smell, teach, etc. I'm still learning. I've traveled to 15 countries as well as have been all around the US and have taken in different cultures, different cafes, the original aesthetics they all have to offer, varieties of brewing methods, and unalike norms in each place. I've learned coffee phrases in 8 different languages. It's interesting to me. It feels good, it's exciting, and it is very rewarding.
It's rewarding because I get to do what I love to do and I get to share everything with all of you. I'm still learning, though. We can learn together. I will teach you things and I'm sure you'll teach me more. This is going to be so fun!
I want to take you along on my journey to opening something I have dreamed of since that time I was 17. It's been 7 years (you do the math), it's a process but it's going to be worth it, I promise. Stick with me and we'll be great friends.
As always, stay in touch. Your feedback is valuable.
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