Appetites: Pandemic coffee trends open door for new business venture

Yair and Sally Carvajalino dreamed of growing a coffee business together but didn't expect the pandemic to be the push they needed.

Peace Coffee
As Americans adjusted to life at home during the pandemic, they also changed many of their daily habits — including how and where they drink their coffee.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR Photo 2012

Americans drink 646 million cups of coffee per day and the pandemic has changed how and where many of us drink it. According to the Spring 2021 National Coffee Data Trends Report, 85 percent of coffee drinkers had at least one cup at home last year. That's up more than 10 percent from 2017.

Norte Café owners Yair and Sally Carvajalino took advantage of the shift and launched their online store in December 2020. Born and raised in Colombia, Yair was a third-generation coffee bean farmer and after moving to the United States, decided it might be the perfect business for him to start with his wife.

Two people stand behind a display table serving coffee.
Norte Café owners Sally and Yair Carvajalino have been adjusting their business model to include events. While the COVID-19 restrictions were in place, the husband-wife team relied on social media and word-of-mouth to sell their product. Now they are able to offer samples of their Colombian coffee in person.
Courtesy Photo

MPR News host Tom Crann spoke to Yair and Sally Carvajalino about the motivation to start a business during the pandemic and what they’ve learned about introducing Americans to Colombian coffee.

Use the audio player above to listen to the interview.

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