In the meantime, the Banana Dang! family had the unique constraint of having to source from one region. But exploring, in-depth, the variety of beans available only in Puerto Rico deepened and clarified to Mario just how amazing and special coffee can be even from just one part of the world. “We got first hand experience as to how micro climates affect coffee. Or how the coffee borer beetle—the “broka” in Puerto Rico—damaged coffee and, how farmers struggled to protect their crops.”
Another opportunity the Banana Dang! family had was working intimately with Sandra Farms from Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, where they were able to experience changes in coffee within one harvest, and from harvest-to-harvest. “Being able to have conversations directly with the farmer or roaster on a regular basis was amazing,” Mario shared. “Learning first hand the tweaks and struggles farmers have to deal with to produce high quality coffee was an eye-opening experience.”
But being forced to remain in one region means that Banana Dang!’s new Downtown Oceanside location will explore a rotation of roasters enthusiastically. “We will enjoy preparing extractions from different roasting companies local to the area,” Mario said, “in Puerto Rico, it was really nice to have such an expertise on the roasts there because we were able to dial it in. But we were stuck in one small library of coffee.” Here in the United States, Banana Dang! aims to take full advantage of their cut leash, and wants to showcase a full library of roasters that they and their customers express enjoyment over. They have already featured Lofty’s Keeping It Classy Espresso, Zumbar’s El Mundo, Revolution Roasters’ Smooth Operator and Cafe Virtuoso’s Guatemala Guaya’b.