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The Passionate of Coffee Beans

From the toasting process to the cup served, Carlos Zavalia turned his vocation into a big business.
Stories of ordinary people
cafe-Carlos-Zavalia
28 October, 2019

From the toasting process to the cup served, Carlos Zavalia turned his vocation into a big business.

Coffee was always important in the everyday life of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires. Today, the city has a product that lives up to its place in culture thanks to the emergence of a new wave of professionals: coffee roasters .

Carlos Zavalia began experimenting at home in 2013 by roasting his own coffeebeans. After trying 30 varieties, he opted for one that grows at high altitude in Honduras and was impressed with the results. Already with a bigger machine than the initial home, he put a small business in his garage and started bringing his own roasted coffee, Cafe Z, to Buenos Aires fairs. He now owns his own coffee business, left his former profession of accountant and expanded his scope: he manages and provides his own coffee shop “to go” in Monserrat (Defensa 313) and two others in San Telmo, including the Museum of Modern Art.

“ Actually, it started as a hobby, “says Carlos, who wears a tattoo of his brand logo on his forearm. “Through trial and error, advice from other roasters and a lot of internet, I learned how to get the best results from grains. Although I’m doing it professionally now, I still feel like I’m just an enthusiast and I have a lot to learn,” he goes on.

Although his second place, Zavalia (Bolívar 1422), is a coffee made and right in which he offers delicacies, such as a carrot cake cooked by his mother, his primary function was to act as the headquarters of operations and where Carlos was able to carry the machine he had in his garage. It opens to the public in the afternoon as the mornings are reserved for its original passion: toasting the beans.

“ Chemical reactions make roasting and cooking very similar things,” he says. “In an artisanal roasting like the one I do, the process is highly controlled. I have to look closely at every grain I use, and if I see one that is not right, I remove it,” he explains.

Carlos says that there are many factors that must be aligned to achieve a good roast (time, temperature, quantity), but that one of the most important things for a toaster is to know your machine and do good maintenance to ensure a uniform temperature. Also, the most relevant thing is, of course, the grain itself.

“ It’s paramount. I always try to highlight the characteristics of the coffeeitself. You can’t do magic with bad pimples. I respect grain as the most valuable thing. Behind every cup of coffee, there is a complete story and a lot of work that you don’t see, from cultivation to harvesting, through the person who loads the bags into the truck,” Carlos closes.

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