Story by: Rudy Arispe
Jake Jimenez likes his coffee black, although occasionally he’ll add a bit of French vanilla creamer for nostalgia sake.
“I grew up drinking Maxwell House and Folger’s with my grandparents, and they would always add French vanilla creamer,” Jimenez fondly recalls, “so now I’ll pour a little in mine.”
Jimenez’s coffee preferences have evolved through the years, although that’s certainly not to knock Maxwell House or Folger’s. It’s just that the Kerrville native’s involvement with his family’s Colombian coffee company, Caferros, has elevated his taste, much like the green coffee beans they grow at a high elevation between 5,500 and 6,500 feet in the Antioquia mountains of Colombia.
There, some 325,000 coffee trees have been planted on the family finca and spread throughout land that is ideal, Jimenez explained, for growing coffee in the region’s rich volcanic soil. The green coffee beans are picked by hand to ensure premium ripeness and not by machine, so that coffee trees won’t be destroyed.
Now, San Antonio coffee connoisseurs can raise their mugs as they rise in the mornings. Cafferos’ 100 percent naturally produced, specialty roasted coffees are available for purchase, including Colombian Supremo, Texas Pecan and Mint Chocolate, among other bold flavors.
When you order online at https://caferros-com.myshopify.com, your coffee will be shipped from the Caferros warehouse in San Antonio, where, as operations manager, Jimenez, 21, oversees the coffee roasting, inventory and shipping, along with Jacob Hayashikawa, event and marketing manager, whom he has known since their teen years at Tivy High School. Other team members help as well.
Jimenez is especially boastful of the Colombian Supremo offering. “It’s categorized as our largest, high-quality bean,” he explained. “A majority of time, Colombian coffee is grown at a high elevation. For every seven containers of coffee – and each container holds 40,000 pounds of green coffee – you only get about 20 percent of harvest; so that out of seven containers, you only get one container of Colombian Supremo.”
Back on the South American continent, the Jimenez family take great pains to ensure their 325,000 coffee trees are not devoured by the pesty broca bug that apparently enjoys a good cup of coffee, too, well, at least, green coffee beans.
“We plant fruit trees that attract birds, which eat the broca bugs and other harmful insects,” Jimenez said, adding that absolutely no pesticides are used to preserve the coffee crops.
Before he delved into the rich and bold, coffee culture, Jimenez was studying international business at Austin Community College and Texas State University when he decided to switch his major to coffee, of course. Kidding aside, after two years of studies, he decided to join the family business.
“When I first started in the coffee business, I had little knowledge of coffee,” Jimenez said. “I started to go to Colombia to visit the family farm.”
Upon his return to Texas, Jimenez began learning about all things coffee. This included sampling, literally, thousands of coffees from Asia, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Mexico, to name a few.
“Our coffee is special to me because we take time to process it carefully,” he said. “The milling and harvesting process we use in Colombia really makes a difference.”
Meanwhile, you won’t find Jimenez back in Colombia picking coffee beans a la Juan Valdez anytime soon, like he did when he visited the family finca. Because there’s just one thing that gives him the heebie jeebies: spiders.
“I was on the side of a mountain about 6,000 feet above sea level, and I’m surrounded by spiders,” he said. “I got at least half a basket before I had to get out of there.”