16 Nov 2021
Gonzalo Hernandez is the owner of Coffea Diversa, a garden of exotic varieties of coffee found in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Jamaica. This place is unique because it has more than 800 botanical variants of coffee, from which 18 are commercially sold. The rest are in the process of approval, are under evaluation, or are just too similar in taste to other coffee varieties that he is offering to his long-standing roasters friends and clients.
The man behind the coffee gardens
From a young age, Gonzalo had coffee very present in his life, partly due to the strong coffee culture in Costa Rica. As a young kid, he would drink the end bits of coffee that his family members would leave in their cups. Around the age of 6, his love for coffee started to grow.
During the 60s and 70s, coffee was an integral part of the Costa Rican economy. In the 80s, Gonzalo studied agronomic engineering and started to work at a bank providing loans to small coffee farmers. His relationship with coffee continued to grow once he finished his studies in the US. Gonzalo began to work in a retail coffee chain called Gloria Jean’s which enabled him to experience the customer-facing side of the coffee industry.
Gonzalo forged invaluable relationships with coffee traders and growers across the world moving forward in his career. He provided coffee from exotic places such as Saint-Helena, Reunion Island, Canary Islands, and Guadeloupe. In the 90s, he was named director of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica, the authority that approves and regulates the famous Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.
With his multiple different work experiences worldwide, he was exposed to the whole coffee spectrum. Gonzalo understood that specialty coffee is an integrated process; one part of the supply chain cannot exist without the other. He also learned that you need to be innovative with your coffee business to stay relevant in the coffee industry as consumption and production are growing every day around the world.
The unique concept of Coffea Diversa
Coffea Diversa provides value by offering an attractive coffee portfolio with a unique approach to coffee production. Gonzalo and his team fix the terroir – soil, altitude, rain patterns, temperature – and plant different botanical variants with other genetic profiles. Thus, while maintaining the same terroir, Coffea Diversa will test the difference in taste profiles caused by genetic variations.