Welcome Juan Valdez, new neighbor in town!

In my time, I’ve been lucky enough to experience a myriad of tastings. I’ve done my share of wine sipping in Napa and I worked for a liquor company that allowed me the opportunity to do tastings abroad with everything from rum and vodka to whisky. #blessed

However, when Mitch and I got a special invitation to check out our new neighborhood coffee shop, not only to see the space but also to participate in a cupping coffee session, I burst with excitement. Coffee tasting was a first for me and I was stoked.

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Truth be told, I am a coffeeholic. I can’t make it past 10 a.m. without a cup of coffee and the world just seems like a better place when coffee beans are roasted into liquid heaven. Juan Valdez  Coffee (100% Colombian) did complete justice to my coffee obsession. It’s quaint, cozy and smells like paradise.

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The cupping session was a fun interactive tasting on coffee led by a charismatic barista who kept our group’s attention at all times. Although we got a sneak peek of the event and they’re not on the coffee shop’s current schedule, these will soon be available to the public and we highly recommend them. Not only are they enjoyable but you’ll also learn a thing or two about Colombian coffee that will make you an accredited coffee snob.

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Together, our small group was guided through the process of smelling the coffee, adding water and understanding the complexities of smell, aroma and finally, the coveted taste. From rich and velvety to bright and floral, we got a taste of it all and along the way learned about the Colombian coffee growing process. We went through the diverse originis of Colombian coffee and our barista guided us through the different Colombian coffee growing regions: Antioquia to Santander and Huila.

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We were also taught about the many brewing methods (which are also available at Juan Valdez.) We learned that Chemex is a great brewing method for sweetness, the French Press is a perfect method for a rich, full-bodied coffee and the Pourover give us the perfect balance between simple mechanics and complex flavors.

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I grew up with images of Juan Valdez and his donkey in our Colombian house, but to see the coffee shop transition to Miami with such ease and elegance was really a proud moment. Another thing we absolutely love about Juan Valdez? They are superstars at corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Profits go back to the Juan Valdez coffee growing community and they remain committed to the success of their coffee growers and brand name.

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Mel’s recommendation: Give Starbucks (also known as fivebucks at MMTM) a much-needed break. Visit Juan Valdez for a refreshing new ambience and authentic cup of Colombian coffee. While you’re at it, enjoy some Colombian goodies like Pan de Bono (cheese bread) and Arepas (corn bread) that will throw any traditional bagel and croissant out of the water. Breakfast is essential but coffee might be the most important meal of the day and Juan Valdez will not disappoint.

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