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      Surfing, Coffee, My Journey

      Surfing, Coffee, My Journey

      How did a surfer from Costa Rica get into the coffee biz?  Well, there's a little more to the story than just drinking it to wake up for early morning surf sessions.

      Growing up I never thought I would be blessed to be a father, husband, and entrepreneur.  Most of what I knew was survival.  My dad was an alcoholic with many struggles and my mom left him and all 9 of us kids when I was 4 years old.  From that time on I bounced from home to home looking for shelter, food, and love.  At the age of 9 I found surfing, finally something to hold on to, a little bit of peace in a uncertain world...

      Some how I was always protected and kind people encouraged me and took me in; that totally saved me from getting lost in the streets.  I was blessed to get my first surfboard when my older brother, Arzelio, worked for 2 whole months to save and have it made for me.  It was a longboard that had broken in half, the shaper remade it into a tiny shortboard, just my size.  A giant rainbow fish with human teeth and a enormous grin was painted on the entire length of the board.  Looking back that had to mean something.  Like a rainbow after the storm, surfing was linked to promises of my future and joy.  Something broken, became beautiful.

      As my surfing improved I met kind people along the way. One of those people was Don Juan Calderon, a local business man and the father of 2 great sons, Juan and Jose.  He allowed me to stay with them and was like the father I never had.  Don Juan drove us to surf contests, helped me find boards to compete, and encouraged me to never touch drugs and alcohol.  He was the first person to ever take me to the "big city," and he helped me see a new perspective for life.  

      One of Don Juan's businesses was and is today, a coffee roaster and cafe.  Years ago he bought a used roaster from the United States and he took a chance on starting a coffee business in Costa Rica.  I enjoyed learning about coffee from them and spending time at Bohio Cafe. As I learned, they encouraged me to start my own coffee brand, and export green beans and roast coffee. 

      So, with a heart full of hope, my wife and I took a leap of faith.  Soljurn Coffee Co. was born.  Our passion is to hand select unique, specialty coffees to share with you, while delivering encouragement and support to several causes.  When you drink Soljurn, you join a journey and become our partner in bringing hope to others.  It's high quality coffee that supports a higher call!

      Everything I have today is by the grace of God and the goodness of those who cared and gave; little acts of kindness can totally change a life.  That's what happened for me and I want to pay it forward and do the same.  Just like my first surfboard, broken lives can become beautiful when we care.  We pray Soljurn Coffee becomes a giant rainbow fish, one that brings smiles to faces and hope for the future, one bag of coffee at a time. Our goal is to help transform coffee routines and lives through this adventure! 




      Specialty Coffee: So Worth It!

      Specialty Coffee: So Worth It!

      Coffee is Coffee.  Well, not exactly.  For many years coffee has been known as a bitter, black drink in need of supplementation from sugar, creamers, and artificial flavors.  Due to large corporate monopolies on coffee roasting, consumers came to expect coffee that was less than fresh and rarely worth drinking on it's own.  

      Commercial Coffee In a Nutshell

      When it comes to profits and production in commercial coffee the game is to buy beans at the lowest possible price and roast them dark to cover up quality issues (mold, insect damage, over and under ripe beans, chemicals, etc.).  Beyond unwanted micro particles, much of commercial coffee may be past crops that are bought for super low prices.  Trust us, aged is not a quality that is desired when it comes to the best beans. These practices lead to more than coffee in your cup, and diminish the art and respect that hard working farmers deserve.  We get it, when millions and millions of the same product need to be produced, quality is out the window.  But is this really what coffee was created for?

      Why Specialty Coffee

      "Why is specialty coffee better and worth the price," you might ask?  To start with buying specialty coffee assures the farmers a price that is worth the careful cultivation and passion that they put into growing and harvesting their crop.  Taking advantage of others isn't cool on any level, so paying what something is worth is essential and the hallmark of specialty coffee. 

      In addition to showing the farmers love, drinking high quality coffee that tastes fresh, exciting, and doesn't need a coverup (sugar and additives) is better for our health.  "I really enjoy starting my day with a load of mold and pesticide," said no one ever.  Specialty coffee is grown at higher altitudes, which decreases the need for pesticides and many of the producers use techniques like shade growing and other environmentally friendly methods that allow the natural distinctions and flavors to shine.  Coffee is actually an art form, similar to producing fine wine.  Art is valuable.  Art is worth it.  You are worth it.

      Finally, specialty coffee is hand selected and roasted.  We taste hundreds of different coffees looking for the best, most unique beans to offer our customers.  Once the coffee is purchased based on quality and taste (a price far beyond fair trade) we roast, and re-roast the coffee looking for the profile that will bring out the best flavor notes in each unique lot.  It's like developing a secret family recipe for each new offering, and that takes careful crafting.  Over-develop the roast and it'll lean towards tasting like charcoal.  Under- develop the roast and it might taste sour and too acidic.  Our goal is to bring out the very best.

      All Aboard; Bon Voyage Bad Coffee

      Embarking on the specialty coffee journey is exciting for those who are new to it.  The journey never gets old for those who have previously said bon voyage to bad coffee.  Specialty coffee gives us an art form to enjoy and continue to learn, while honoring people at every level.  Each coffee will be different and unique, like the people who cultivate and drink it.  So, we raise our mug to specialty coffee; a drink that gives us the chance to explore the world, connect with others, wake up, and enhance our daily routines... without that bitter aftertaste.






      Overcoming 2020

      Overcoming 2020

      Perseverance. Hope for the future. At times.....frustration and tears.  All a part of starting a business during 2020: a year full of surprises and challenges to overcome. 

      We had no clue when we started this Soljurn Coffee Co. journey, that we would be working to build the business separated by border closings and travel restrictions; Jedie and myself in the US and Jairo in Costa Rica.  However we did have a sign in February 2020.  As we drove into the mountains of Costa Rica to buy our coffee, we followed a bob truck with "Be Strong and Courageous," in bold letters on the back.  Yep, couldn't have been a more spot on message for this year.  So with that powerful reminder we have kept on keeping on toward the goal: establishing a retail website that offers hand selected specialty coffee and hope, while supporting several worthwhile causes that help to change lives around the globe.

      Being a full-time mom is the most challenging thing that I've ever done (though totally worthwhile).  Add in being a full-time mom, without full time childcare, displaced and without Jairo, and navigating all the details of starting a business.....whew interesting times.  I've cried, laughed, played with my son as best I can, edited website copy, tasted and worked on our roast profiles, stamped boxes, multi-tasked to the max, you get the picture....  Even though it hasn't been easy I know without a doubt that when we look back at the last 8 months we will be astounded at what was accomplished.  We know none of it is by our strength or power, but purely by the grace of God.  We are also thankful to the family and friends who have hosted us in their homes and encouraged us along the way.

      Circumstances come and go, but true joy is found in quiet trust and faith.  This season is a circumstance and we choose joy knowing all things are possible to those who believe.  Sometimes our momentary struggles seem like they will never end, but if we don't give up we will reap a harvest.  No matter your situation, we believe there's a hope and future for you and we encourage you to push through toward that.  If we can do it, so can you in whatever you are called to do.  

      We are excited about the future and bringing exceptional coffee to you.  Everyone who sips our coffee is a part of this journey; so hop on board and Soljurn with us.  Change your coffee routine and change lives in the process!