Today we’d like to introduce you to Andre Di Bonaventura.
Andre, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am originally from São Paulo, which is the biggest city in Brazil. With a family of Italian immigrants, my brother and I grew up in a mix of Brazilian and Italian culture, between farms and espressos.
But before talking about me, I have to tell you the story of my family and how I got here. My grandparents took a ship in Italy in the mid 50’s to Brazil with 30 dollars in their pocket and without speaking a word in Portuguese. My grandpa, Mariano Di Bonaventura, came from a peasant family in a small village in Abruzzo, pursuing a dream of having a better life in another country. Italy back then was completely bankrupt after WWII.
Making a long story short, he started to work in an Italian factory and soon began to be recognized for his work. Everyone called him BONA, the short, strong Italian men with the funny accent that put everything in order! He grew in the company, made some money, built a family, bought a farm and started two other businesses. My dad continued his journey in Brazil. But with the economical and political crisis, the situation in our family started to get very difficult. So my wife and I decided that it was time for us to pursue the same dream that my grandpa once had to move to another country looking for a better life.
We sold everything that we had and moved with our big German Shepherd to Colorado in 2017 to found Bona Coffee Roasters. But our love for Colorado started more than ten years ago when I first came with my family to visit a friend who was living in Boulder. As cliché as it sounds, it took me just a few days to see myself living in Colorado. The mountains, the people, biking, climbing, skiing and all the Colorado things was something that growing up in Brazil, we could just see on movies.
In 2011, I locked up my studies in Brazil and moved to Boulder to learn English. Then, my now wife joined me and we lived between Boulder and Denver for around two years. Back in Brazil, we graduated, got married and the dream to build our story in Colorado began. I was already into the specialty coffee industry, learning about farming, cultivation, coffee processes and roasting. So in 2016, we were ready to open BONA COFFEE ROASTERS and we had no doubts that it would be in Colorado.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
For sure, it wasn’t a smooth road and I don’t believe it will ever be. As a business owner, you are always facing new challenges. I am not in the 50’s like my grandpa was, but it’s still a huge challenge to start your own business, especially in another country.
Even getting prepared with a full business plan and apparently having everything checked out, you realize that you have 10.000 more things to do and learn. In the beginning, getting up to date with all the bureaucracy was tough, but I believe that building a team and opening new accounts are the hardest things. Also getting your customer’s trust is a long process too, especially being “the new kid on the block”.
But for sure our biggest challenge now is the Covid-19. We had to shut down for three months our recently opened Coffee Shop inside Sanitas Brewery in Boulder. Also, we saw most of our wholesale clients closing their hotels, cafes and restaurants. With that, our income dropped 90%. On the other hand, we started focusing on our online store and subscription plans, which helped our community to stay safe and caffeinated at home. And with their help, we triple our online sales.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Bona Coffee Roasters story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a family-owned specialty coffee roaster based in Boulder, CO. With a recently opened coffee shop inside Sanitas Brewing Taproom on East Pearl St. We handcraft small batches roasts and our wholesale clients go from cafés and restaurants to small offices and grocery stores. Also, you can find us on Alfalfa’s Market and at our online store. For those who want to try an excellent cup of coffee, cascara tea, cappuccinos, some amazing pastries and our delicious and unique Whiskey Aged Coffee can now go to our shop as well.
I believe that what sets us apart from the rest is that we are from the coffee origin! Our connection with the land, farmers and culture, allows us to get the best coffee available to you. Also, we are proud to have most of our coffees directly traded. I literally get on a phone with a farmer and buy our coffee beans. Having this relationship allows us to get involved and understand the whole chain from the seed to the cup, helping producers, understanding their needs, talking with the community, learning about biodiversity in their lands. With that, we help not just the coffee industry but also the environment.
At Bona, we have a close relationship with our customers. We welcome each of our wholesale clients to cupping (fancy word to try coffee) and develop their own blends with personalized flavors and roast profiles.
And at last but not least, hopefully (after the pandemic) we will be back soon offering our classes for those who want to get more involved into the coffee industry or simply are coffee enthusiasts:
– Cupping Class, we start the day with a tour inside our roastery where people can see how a coffee facility works, roaster machine, green and roasted coffees, samples roaster and we also chat about seed to cup. After that, we do a proper Cupping session and explain how coffee is evaluated around the world.
– Brewing methods: This class goes over seven different ways to extract coffee. Pour overs/ immersion/ pressure/ etc. Also explanation and suggestions on how the ratio works (water/ temperature/ time/ grind settings/ etc). You’ll choose one of our fresh roasted coffee and we’ll brew it together in different ways and taste how the same process can change the final result.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
As Thomas Jefferson said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”.
I feel blessed to have inherited my family’s entrepreneurial spirit of building and growing. Also, to have had the opportunity to grow in farms and learn about coffee and the land! And to have an incredible wife next to me that supports me every day.
Many years ago, I went to a lecture of a National Geographic photographer, and I saw a beautiful picture that he took in the Middle East. It was a lightning bolt crossing the sky, dividing two mountains. After the lecture, I asked him if he believed that it was luck. The old photographer answered me that yes, but he woke up at 3am that day, hiked for 4 hours, set him in a perfect spot, had all his equipment settled and then, yes. He was lucky.
So here we are in the mountains, with the best coffee in Colorado waiting for that lighting!
- Coffee bags starting at $15
- Coffee Subscription starting at $32
- Coffee drinks, at our shop, starting at $2.5
- Address: BONA COFFEE SHOP
3550 Frontier Ave Unit A
Boulder, CO – 80301
- Website: www.bonacoffeeroasters.com
- Phone: (720) 412.4991
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bonacoffeeroasters/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bonacoffeeroasters
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/bona-coffee-roasters-boulder-3