Juan and his donkey, Conchita, are world famous mascots for Colombian coffee producers.
What? Huh? Wrong Juan? Sorry….
The problem is that Juan and Juan come from the same town – Fredonia in the famous coffee growing region of Antioquia. Our Juan may not be the new Juan Valdez, but he has plenty of coffee pedigree himself. His father is a coffee producer and his mother worked for over 35 years for one of Antioquia’s coffee cooperatives.
After years of resisting the pull of the coffee business, working successfully in other fields, in 2012 Juan finally gave in. Stephen Hurst offered him a cup of coffee, and that was that.
Juan has some pretty solid sensory training and has been part of the jury in over 15 coffee competitions, including as a COE Colombia international judge in 2019. Juan knows his way around a cupping, and is always keen to get one going!
“Coffee is such a vast field you there is always space and potential for learning, growing, specializing, and finding your passion, all within the same industry and with the same product. I also love understanding taste and working with people.”
After some time running Mercanta operations in Colombia, then doing a stint in the HQ in London, in 2019, Juan relocated to Berlin – his mission: to establish Mercanta’s European office and quality lab. His considerable knowledge and experience in different fields, along with his willingness to spend literally hundreds of hours of his free time (time he could have spent doing anything else) learning German, made him the perfect operative for this assignment.