By Rick Clapp
Bay Area Houston is proud to boast about the many small, unique international businesses that are located in our community. Primos Coffee Company is one of these organizations. Primos is becoming a legend in its own time. It is the perfect example of a responsibly operated, socially conscious company.
The roots of this company began in 1929 when Don Felipe Blandon started growing high-quality Arabica coffee beans on his farm in the lush, green mountains of Jinotega, Nicaragua. Over the years, the hard-working Blandon family perfected the process to ensure they produce only the finest specialty coffee in Central America. Don Felipe’s grandson, Gustavo Blandon, grew up on the 1,100 acre farm and now runs the day-to-day operations.
Primos Coffee is planted in fertile, rich soil at an elevation over 4,000 feet in the gorgeous, emerald green rainforest of the Nicaraguan mountains. The coffee plants are protected from the direct sunlight by shade trees and from the strong winds by cornflower plants. The colorful coffee cherries are so named for the bright, red color they produce as they slowly ripen over seven months. This enhances the sugars within the fruit and results in the pleasant flavor.
The harvest is hand-picked by local Nicaraguan migrant families that have worked on the farm for generations. The picking season coincides with the school year, and so the families come and live on the farm during that time to tend the fields. They are provided lodging, food and shelter for those months.
Once harvested, the coffee cherries are wet milled daily with clean spring water. The seeds of the cherries are naturally dried by the sun and fresh Nicaraguan air. Next, the seeds, or “beans” as commonly referred to, are exported to the Port of Houston, which has become one of the largest import coffee centers in the world.
The green coffee beans are sent to a rustic but state-of-the-art roasting facility in Cove, Texas, operated by Gustavo’s wife, Betty Ann Blandon, and her brother, Steve Coggins. Thousands of pounds of high-quality coffee are drum roasted in small batches using distinct profiles carefully developed for the medium bodied coffee. This low acidic coffee boasts smooth, as well as sweet, characteristics with citrus notes. After brewing the roasted-to-order coffee, your delicious cup of Primos is ready for you to enjoy and savor.
Primos Coffee Company is true to its name. In Spanish, “primos” means cousins and there are many cousins descending from Don Felipe. Now, in Texas, Betty Ann’s children and Steve’s children form a new line of cousins in the coffee business. The word “primos” also signifies the very best, which is exactly what Primos Coffee Company strives for in producing coffee.
Equally important to the company is implementing sustainable farming practices. Nothing goes to waste on the working farm; the skin of the coffee fruit is used for compost, the tree trimmings are used for firewood, and the processing water is cleaned and recycled. Primos Coffee Company was and is committed to not only producing the finest quality coffee but also to maintaining the highest social, economic and environmental standards. The Blandon family works diligently to protect their country’s rainforest and natural resources.
Primos Coffee is sold on their website primoscoffeeco.com and also on Amazon. Their Amazon sales have exploded, and Primos Coffee became Amazon’s Best Seller and Amazon’s Choice for unroasted green coffee beans as well as Amazon’s Choice for French press coffee. Primos Coffee Company sells over 4,000 pounds of coffee per month, locally and nationally. The whole beans or ground are available in a medium or dark roast and also in single serve, Keurig compatible cups. Orders may be made online at primoscoffeeco.com or through Amazon. Enjoy your morning, noon or evening with an aromatic, flavorful cup of Primos Coffee.