Brew It Yourself
A four-generation coffee tradition continues—with an online twist
Coffee is more than just a morning pick-me-up for Venezuela natives Roberto and Sonia Azuaje. The beverage has nourished their family tree for four generations, a legacy that started with their great-grandfather, Bernardo Gonzalez.
Today, the brother and sister pay homage to that past in Coconut Creek with Cubico Coffee, an online business that allows coffee lovers to purchase single-origin offerings—or to customize their own blends (and even give the mixture its own name)—based on more than 20 gourmet varieties from all over the world. After customers make their online selections, Cubico roasts and grinds the chosen coffee beans to best match their flavor preferences. The coffee is then delivered to them.
Originally, Bernardo Gonzalez moved to Venezuela in 1887 hoping to grow the coffee business—Fama de America—he had just purchased from his uncle. The business, like their coffee, was strong; it quickly became an established name in the industry. “At one point, we were buying 50 percent of all the coffee production in the entire country,” great-grandson Roberto says with pride.
Unfortunately, Fama de America came to a halt in 2009, two years after the creation of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. “Not only did [the government] take away the facility, they took the brand as well,” Roberto says. “We were the second-oldest brand in the country.”
Roberto and Sonia knew it was up to them to keep the family business alive. “Coffee is a legacy for us; as kids we were told, ‘This is yours,’ ” Sonia says. “I remember being 2 or 3 years old and going to the main facility. It’s in me.
“We knew we wanted to keep it going.”
Roberto was already in the United States in 2007, studying industrial engineering at Texas Tech University. Sonia came over in 2009 to finish her international politics degree at University of Miami; she went on to complete an MBA in entrepreneurship.
Though unable to revive the Fama de America name, Roberto and Sonia were intent on taking an entrepreneurial chance. They eventually found a warehouse in Creek to roast, grind and package their coffees; Cubico Coffee opened for online business in 2015.
“We want our customers to go to their friends and say ‘This is my blend,’ ” Roberto says.
Adds Sonia: “I always say, the best coffee is the way that you like it.”
The siblings hope to open a café in South Florida where guests can watch coffee being blended and try their own personalized brew.
“We are breaking the mold; you can get a cup of coffee from anywhere, but not everyone can give you the whole experience,” Sonia says.
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