I first met Maria-Gracia and Jose Rivera in the Summer of 2016. Two days prior to that, I cupped coffee from their homeland of San Ignacio, Peru for the first time. Like many great coffee partnerships, it all began with a connection between a friend of a friend and a few tiny Ziplock bags of green coffee that ended up next to our sample roaster to taste.
At the time Jose was working as a roaster in Chicago where he lived for a stint with his wife Maria-Gracia. He was exploring the possibility of exporting coffee from San Ignacio, Peru – an area that at the time was often viewed as mediocre at best – though he believed there was greater potential. Upon tasting the little sample stash he sent, we were awestruck and agreed there was absolutely potential. So Maria-Gracia and Jose jumped in their car and paid a visit to Grand Rapids.