El Amigo Coffee brings specialty and exotic coffee from Colombia to Laredo

Colombian Fernado Diaz, along with his wife Pilar Orjuela and daughter Valentina Diaz, opened El Amigo Coffee in September last year, offering specialty and exotic coffee from Colombia. The idea of opening a cafeteria arose when Diaz moved to Laredo four years ago, wanting a quiet place to retire. He studied coffee administration and became a barista, focusing on serving coffee in depth.

Diaz and his wife began to retire from their professions, exporting coffee from Colombia to clients in New York, San Francisco, New Jersey, and other places in the United States. They opened their online store elamigocoffe.com three years ago, and when Diaz arrived in Laredo, they started promoting the sale of coffee varieties and their products.

In Colombia, there are 70 varieties of coffee, but at El Amigo Coffee, they promote six to nine varieties. Commercial coffee represents 65% of the world market, while 35% is specialty coffee, which has a score given by a taster. Specialty coffee has very high standards because it must be organic, there are no chemicals, and the processes have to be very detailed.

Diaz discovered that there was no specialty coffee in Laredo during a market study. After taking a business plan course at TAMIU, he realized there was more opportunity in the area and created the company. He decided to make a minimum viable product, which is a project that works 100% and does tests and statistics.

In September, El Amigo Coffee opened, and they will need to complete a year to get reliable statistics. After analyzing the statistics, they will be able to take action on some decisions because they are still learning from the Laredo market.

Diaz has learned that people in Laredo do want specialty coffee and has regular customers who try and drink it every day. He believes that Colombians have a long relationship with coffee and feels the need to tell the story of what a specialty coffee is. He often demonstrates the properties and process of preparing the coffee to his clients, not competing with big coffee brands or making sweets.

Diaz believes that through the consumption of good coffee, people can directly help the coffee farmers who make specialty coffee in Colombia.

El Amigo Coffee, a Colombian coffee business, plans to analyze its next steps after completing one year. The family will evaluate analytics, including coffee sales, drink sales, and product sales, to determine areas for improvement and identify strengths and weaknesses. The Diaz family plans to transition to a high-traffic location in Laredo, as the city is known for its hotter and colder weather.

Orjuela, a Colombian coffee exporter, enjoys living in Laredo as part of their family project. She believes that finding specialty coffee is difficult due to the country’s strong coffee culture, but she and her husband Valentina form a team to promote it. Valentina, who studied government and relations in Colombia, appreciates the importance of coffee in Colombia’s culture and plans to pursue a master’s degree in history and political thought at TAMIU.

Elim Hernandez, a customer working in roofing and construction, has been enjoying El Amigo Coffee’s specialty coffee since January. Elizabeth Herber, who used to buy coffee from big chains, has stopped drinking coffee now but plans to continue drinking specialty coffee in the future. El Amigo Coffee sells its own coffee and customers can purchase bags of coffee beans.

The Diaz family invites the Laredo community to visit their coffee truck and taste the specialty coffee, highlighting the unique opportunity to drink from Colombia, one of the best coffee-producing countries in the world.

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