Interview with Martin Trejo of Amavida Coffee
For many of us, our first thought upon waking in the morning pertains to coffee. We know how we like our coffee to taste and drinking it is part of our morning ritual to help get our day started. If you are vacationing along the Emerald Coast, you may wonder where to go for your morning coffee. Amavida Coffee is one option, serving some of the best organic, fair-trade coffee around. In addition to amazing coffee, their three cafes offer breakfast sandwiches, pastries, frozen drinks and more. But Amavida Coffee is much, much more than just a coffee shop, as I found out recently when I sat down to chat with Martin Trejo, Director of Coffee for Amavida Coffee.
Amavida Coffee was started in 2004 as a wholesale roasting distributor in Freeport by Dan Bailey. Dan is a native of Puerto Rico, where a lot of coffee is grown. Amavida Coffee distributes coffee to many businesses locally and beyond. Expanding beyond distribution, the first coffee shop was opened in Seaside, followed by a second location in Rosemary and a third location in Panama City. In addition, Amavida Coffee services coffee equipment, sells coffee supplies to retailers and provides consulting services to entrepreneurs wanting to open coffee shops.
Since the beginning, Dan’s mission for Amavida Coffee goes beyond just being in the coffee business. Since most of the best coffee is grown in developing countries that are often struggling, Dan wanted to make sure his company helped and supported the countries from which he was buying the best coffee. Amavida Coffee buys certified organic coffee and pays above fair market value. Additionally, they are part of a coffee importing cooperative that supports efforts to better living conditions and create opportunities for people living in these developing countries.
To help execute his mission, Dan hires the best qualified staff available. Martin joined the company in 2010. Dedicated and passionate about everything coffee, Martin loves his work. He started out working as a Barista in high school for another company, working at different coffee shops through his college years. He says he chose to work in coffee shops during those years because he enjoys the atmosphere and getting to know customers. He started as a Barista at Amavida Coffee and worked his way up through the ranks, developing the Amavida Coffee training program before moving to his current position as Director of Coffee.
As Director of Coffee, Martin’s spends much of his time roasting coffee. Martin wears many quality-control hats in his job, starting with ordering the green coffee seeds, the beginning step for choosing the best coffee before deciding whether to serve it to customers. He then roasts the seeds in a smaller roaster and brews the coffee. The next step is tasting and experimenting with the coffee in a cupping lab as if he is the customer. He grades the coffee, picking the best coffees to serve from the store-front counters. Once Martin decides which coffees are the best, it’s time for him to buy larger quantities of green seeds, which then go through the roasting process on-site in the big Amavida Coffee warehouse. He is constantly testing and tasting new coffee flavors, as coffee crops change from season to season.
Amavida Coffee buys most of their coffee through Coop Coffees, a cooperative of 20 companies in Canada and the US that facilitates buying organic, fair-trade coffee. The definition of fair trade, in layman’s terms, means that these co-op coffee companies are willing to pay an amount adequate to support farmers in these developing countries to live a better life. Additionally, the co-op can purchase larger quantities than individual coffee shops would buy, which helps the farmers.
Beyond that, Amavida Coffee works in partnership with a non-profit organization called On The Ground, supporting special programs in these developing countries that assist the farmers as well as the local population. These include projects like buying drying beds for the farmers to dry their seeds on, supporting a clean water project in Mexico and supporting equal rights for women in the Congo that includes community education programs that promote the rights of women to own farmland.
Amavida Coffee has had the privilege of having their coffee graded from time to time by outside certified coffee tasters, receiving award winning scores of 90 or above on several of their coffees. Enjoy your fabulous tasting coffee and support the deeper mission and efforts of Dan, Martin and their Amavida Coffee team by visiting one of the following locations:
Amavida Coffee Seaside Cafe
2236 E. Co Hwy 30A
Seaside, FL 32459
850-213-1965 Ext. 2040
Amavida Coffee Rosemary Beach Cafe
104 North Barrett Square
Unit 1A Lofts West
Rosemary Beach, FL 32461
850-213-1965 Ext. 2040
Amavida Coffee St. Andrews Cafe
2997 W. 10th St.
Panama City, FL 32401
Amavida Coffee Roasters (for sales, service and consulting)
712 Serona Road
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459