Juan grew up in the town of Fredonia in Colombia’s famous coffee growing region of Antioquia. Also the birthplace of the first Juan Valdez (yes, THAT guy), Fredonia is said to have been the first town in Colombia to have ever exported coffee.
Juan, himself, comes from a coffee farming family, but when he was young no amount of arm twisting could have gotten him into a coffee field. Instead, at the age of 17, he moved to the city and embarked on a varied career that enabled him to avoid coffee altogether. Literally. He didn’t even used to drink coffee! It was only when he met Stephen Hurst and tasted a very good Guatemalan coffee that Stephen had brought with him to Colombia that he felt that ancestral passion ignite.
One day Juan returned to his hometown for a couple of weeks, and while he was there, he got the hankering for some coffee; however, there was only some green coffee left over from their small backyard coffee garden. Desperate, he contacted Stephen, asking how to roast it in a pan. Stephen helped avert a clear disaster by inviting Juan to roast it, instead, in Mercanta’s Medellin lab. From that point, there was no going back for Juan….which was our plan all along. Just don’t’ tell anyone that it was Guatemala that brought our Colombian rep back to coffee!
Juan speaks Spanish, English, French (intermediate) and is currently learning German, as well.