100%, Pure Colombian Coffee
By Richard Lyon
Six years ago, eleven year old Juan Valencia died in a tragic ac-cident in his home in southern Colombia. Today, his twenty-six year old brother, Edwin, uses his little brothers name for his com-panys product: Colombian coffee.
Edwin Valencia looks younger than his age and is energetic and proud as he explains the processes of preparing the raw coffee beans he imports from his native country into packaged, high quality coffee.
I know all of these processes well, he says, smiling. I did them all as a child in Colombia.
Edwins family in Colombia has exported coffee for nearly twenty five years, and after studying English at Indiana University at South Bend (IUSB) for three months, he decided to start his own business in the Michiana area. He only officially began three weeks ago.
It hasnt been easy, he says. It cost $8,500 for the visa to work here, and I dont have credit in the United States. I used all of my savings to buy that machine and to pay for the warehouse.
Hes catholic and says that he prays every day for strength as he works. The memory of his deceased brother gives him much inspiration, as well as the response his coffee has received from his growing list of customers.
When asked if he drinks his own coffee, he laughs and says that he does, because he has tasted it.
I cant drink other coffee, he adds. Not after tasting this.
Edwin also has advice for other entrepreneurs like himself from Spanish speaking countries.
If you have an idea, do it, he says. Because its possible.
He is quiet for a moment and listens patiently to one final question: Would his brother, Juan, be proud of him if he knew what he was doing?
Of course, yes, he says, emotionally. And my family. Nobody can believe I am doing thisÉ to come to a foreign country and do something difficultÉ Of course he would be proud.
Edwin doesnt have a website yet, but plans to have one soon. He offers a few different blends, but his most popular is Especial 18. A 500 gram (1.1 pound) bag sells for $9.99, and a 340 gram (12 ounce) bag sells for $6.99. For now, he takes orders from his cell phone number, 574-315-9162.