Edgardo Texidor, Barista/Corporate Trainer, Juan Valdez Café
In today’s Behind the Bar, we’re doing things a little bit differently. Instead of the cocktail bar, we’re going behind the coffee bar. We recently met Edgardo at a coffee cupping session at the new Juan Valdez Café in Downtown Miami and thought his upbeat personality and coffee knowledge would make for a great interview subject. So, here we are…
Edgardo is a native of Puerto Rico and earned a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Puerto Rico, financed by coffee, of course. He has more than 10 years of barista experience working and competing in local barista competitions in Old San Juan. In 2011, he represented Puerto Rico in the World Barista Championship (held that year in Bogota, Colombia) where he met and fell in love with Juan Valdez Café! He now works as the corporate trainer for Juan Valdez Café in Miami, Florida.
I’m an artist. If I don’t produce art, I get depressed. Nothing makes me happier than to serve and create latte art and high quality coffee for my guests! Art is in the details and coffee is finally getting its well deserved recognition.
What’s your take on Miami coffee culture?
Miami is heavily influenced by Latin American, Caribbean, and European tendencies because it is such a transient city and tourist destination. Espressos, cortaditos, coladas, cappuccinos…you name it, people here like their coffee strong, hot and sweet!
Describe the Juan Valdez Café experience in 3 words.
Product. Hospitality. Ambiance.
Juan Valdez Café falls somewhere between the large chain (i.e. Starbucks) and the local coffee shop (i.e. Panther Coffee) experiences. What sets is apart?
Juan Valdez Café is a special place because it celebrates the coffee of Colombia by way of the largest coffee federation in the world! Coffee flourishes all year round in Colombia (not all coffee producing countries produce coffee all year round) so this is where coffee found its home and stayed! Colombia has a rich coffee culture that is almost 300 years old! Yikes!
Furthermore, with every cup of coffee that gets sold in any of the Juan Valdez Café stores worldwide, the royalties of the year go back to the country in order to build roads, schools, health care programs for coffee families, etc. It’s a company with depth that justly pays and rewards its farmers for all the hard work they put into their craft. So you can be assured you are sipping a socially responsible espresso.
What is your all-time favorite way to drink coffee?
I’m an espresso man myself, but I’m loving some cold-brewed coffee right about now!
You’ve traveled the world learning about and sampling different types of coffees. What’s been the most exotic?
The most exotic was last November when I got invited by the Coffee Growers Federation of Colombia to participate in the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan’s World Coffee Conference and Barista Competition. There I got to try coffees that don’t reach American shores, I believe I got blown away by the flavor of a coffee from Yemen done in a V-60 Hot Dripper….amazing!
When’s the best time to drink coffee?
I absolutely need coffee in the mornings and in the afternoons, if not I’m a zombie…
What type of coffee or coffee drink best describes you, and why?
I consider myself a well made mocha. Whenever I travel to a new coffee shop I always try the following, and in this order: 1. double espresso 2. cappuccino, and 3. mocha… I’m a total chocoholic and the combination of chocolate and coffee is a match made in heaven. Done right, it lubricates the neurons of my brain and turns me into an efficient, well-oiled machine! I’m fully bi-cultural and bi-lingual, it’s all in the mix!
What does the way you take your coffee say about your personality?
People who take their time to sit and sip this elixir of life in any way- shape- or- form- are people who appreciate using their brains to their full capacity, my kind of people!
What’s your favorite thing to eat with a cup of joe?
I just can’t imagine any breakfast without coffee, its just offensive. Anything, a piece of bread, a cookie, a cracker, anything accompanied by coffee…makes any breakfast complete!
What’s your favorite spiked coffee drink?
Irish whiskey. It takes a skilled bartender/barista to make this, and I have yet to find a restaurant or coffee shop in Miami that can make one correctly and beautifully. I wonder who in Miami can accept this barista/bartender challenge? Miami represent!
What is your favorite Miami restaurant right now?
Kush in Wynwood. Love the craft beers, the alligator bites, the burgers, and finishing it off with bacon brownies. Yes, bacon brownies. Only at Kush, I recommend highly!
What’s your favorite thing about living in Miami?
The weather, hands down. I can’t stand the cold…!
Mitch & Mel