“SAN JOSE” COFFEE AND CITRUS FARM AND NEW ROASTERY IN PITTSBURGH

Last Updated on July 17, 2021 by Nick Baskett

Introduction

The city of Pittsburgh has been a scene of great coffee for a number of years. If you’re a resident there, you may have wondered where the great coffee comes from? In this article, we will meet one family who has been exporting beans from their Finca in Colombia, and who is now opening their first roastery in the city.

Hernando (“Meko”- say “Mehko”) Gutiérrez Díaz comes from an old family of coffee farmers with a Finca based in Rosaflorida, Municipality of Arboleda, in the north coffee growing zone of Nariño (Departamento) that dates back to the early 20th century.

A natural entrepreneur and agronomist, and with the support of his family, the Finca operates today producing approximately 5 tons of coffee which they sell locally and export predominantly to the European and US market.

This month, Meko’s family are launching the website of their roastery in Pittsburgh called Rosa Roasting and Imports, where they can finally bring their family’s respected coffees to the US market directly. This new milestone builds to the family’s coffee business, which includes also export company Rosaflorida S.A.S.

This article describes the experiences of Hernando’s (“Meko”) Gutiérrez Díaz, in particular his coffee plantation tradition, which dates to the mid 70’s.

1970’s – Present

In the late 1960’s to early 1970’s when Meko was in his late teens to early twenties, he ventured to pursue a living in New York City. His plans changed when he was tasked with managing the family’s old farm “San Miguel” adjacent San José Farm.

Upon his return to Colombia, he combined this activity with entrepreneurship in commerce, construction, irrigation, and farming projects derived from his studies of agronomical engineering and a passion for turning Nariño’s mid altitude lands into a fruit (mostly citrus) growing region.

A breadth of activities stems from his keen interest in technification of agronomy in this region of Colombia, notably in citrus plantations such as mandarins, Persian limes, and other products. To this day Meko is an avid champion of initiatives along with neighbours to export citrus, such as Persian limes, to highly regulated markets such as Germany.   

Coffee Export Activities

Germany, 2005

True to his entrepreneurial spirit, Meko capitalized on the renewed interest in coffees from the region of Nariño. The business saw an immediate success after exporting a selection of the harvest to a Law firm which in turn had these coffees roasted by a Specialty roaster in the Black Forest (Baden-Württemberg), Kaffeemacher Villingen, and was received with great reviews.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, 2010

Meko exports the first 2,000 pounds of his coffee harvest, a tradition that continues to date. An Export Company in Nariño needs to be enlisted since at this time it is not feasible for small specialty coffee producers to export their own coffee in small amounts.

Meko’s coffees settled upon the vibrant and expanding specialty coffee roasting scene in Pittsburgh, receiving great reviews by local coffee roasters like La Prima Coffee (the first specialty coffee roaster in Pittsburgh, established in the mid-80’s), as well as other newly established coffee roasters like Commonplace Coffee Co., from Indiana, Pa.

Other specialty coffee roasters in the Pittsburgh area who have purchased microlots of Meko’s coffee include 19 Coffee Co. of Washington, PA, Klvn Coffee, of Pittsburgh, PA, and Mechanic Coffee Co., of Verona, PA. Now with the opening of the roastery by Rosa Roasting and Imports, Meko is delighted to see his coffee move through a greater part of the value chain and firmly establish their name in the local market.

The Hague, Netherlands, 2015

In 2015, along with coffee friends from the municipality of Genova, northern Nariño, Meko sought to expand their export operations, and together they determined to break into the Dutch market in the Netherlands.

Collaboration with a local partner is key to success in foreign markets, and Meko formed a collaboration with Dutch specialty coffee buyers that led to the introduction of honey and natural preparation methods, an expansion over the traditional washed method that they had been using previously.

We are licensed Exporters, and we are importers, distributors, and coffee roasters in the state of Pennsylvania, United States.

The business has come such a long way since the 1970’s, but with that heritage behind us, with the opening of the roastery and new export markets, it is an exciting time for the company, and we are looking forward to welcoming our new customers and business partners.

Current Production

The business is now able to offer washed, sun-dried coffees of Caturra, Colombia, and Tabi varietals. We also offer a limited number of bags of honey and naturals. Cupping results show a consistent 86+ score on the SCAA scale, often hitting the lower 90’s.

San José coffees are characterized by a citrus acidity, combined with a sweetness that evokes sugarcane syrups, or “melao”. Good body and a satisfying aftertaste.

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