Each year H-E-B holds a fantastic competition for innovators and entrepreneurs across Texas, a chance to not only win cash prizes but also coveted space for their product on the shelves of H-E-B. I was honored to serve on the judging panel and had the pleasure of meeting a delightful brother and sister whose company produces a delicious coffee. I was not only impressed with the smooth, rich flavors of their coffee, but also their story of giving back. I wanted to share it with all of you.
Betty Ann Blandón and Steve Coggins, are passionate about coffee and their Texas business, Primos Coffee Co. Most siblings can’t imagine being in business together so what’s their secret? “There are several countries in between us!” jokes Steve. More than a decade ago, Betty Ann left the Lone Star State and moved to her husband’s homeland of Nicaragua where he runs his family’s coffee farm, Hacienda La Neutral.
In 1988, Betty Ann met Gustavo Blandón while attending Texas Christian University. As newlyweds, they traveled to visit Gustavo’s parents in Jinotega, Nicaragua. Gustavo had not been home in a decade and he knew that the Arabica coffee farm his grandfather started in the 1920s had declined. His father, who was running the farm at the time, was aging and the country was recovering from a revolution. Gustavo longed for the opportunity to help this lush land surrounded by green mountains return to its full potential. Conveniently, Betty Ann fell in love with Nicaragua and they envisioned their life there in the not-so-distant future.
Within a few years, Gustavo left corporate life and became a farmer splitting his time between the U.S. and Nicaragua. Over many years, he reestablished the farm and improved its output with modern farming techniques, equipment and facilities. With the farm’s success, Gustavo and Betty Ann moved their family to Nicaragua in 2008.
During a visit back home to Texas, Gustavo, Betty Ann and Steve decided to extend the farm’s success by opening a coffee import and production business in the United States. Steve lived very close to the Port of Houston which had become a primary port for coffee post Hurricane Katrina. They were confident that the coffee would be well received because Gustavo had a history of selling his high quality beans to brokers and large clients at a premium. In 2014, B&C Imports was born along with the creation of Primos Coffee Co.
Their coffee is also used to support the inspiring work of 15 missionaries and humanitarian organizations through a sister-brand called Café Las Misiones. In addition to the donations from Café Las Misiones, Gustavo’s farm helps offset extremely high unemployment with 50 year-round employees and upwards of 500 during harvest. Employment includes housing and feeding the employees and their families. Gustavo also regularly looks for opportunities to help his fellow Nicaraguans through activities such as share cropping.
The coffee beans are imported directly to their roasting facility located in Cove, Texas, where they drum roast small batches of their Arabica beans using state of the art technology. This creates a medium-bodied cup of joe that’s smooth with low acidity, sweet characteristics and citrus notes.
There are many coffee companies out there, but it’s rare that the beans go directly from the farmer to the coffee drinker.
Now Goodtaste viewers can try Primo’s coffee for themselves! Through September 30th, enjoy 15% off at checkout on their online store (https://primoscoffeeco.com/discount/COFFEEDAY19) with code COFFEEDAY19. Use the beans to brew up your morning cup, or try them out in the Primos coffee-inspired recipes below.