Coral Gables residents Joe and Christy Cunetta headed out early one Sunday morning to this year’s Ciclovia in Miami Beach, an event in which Washington Avenue is closed to traffic and opened to pedestrians, bike riders, skateboarders and local vendors.
Hungry and thirsty, they stopped at Cold Brew Station, a truck serving iced coffee along the route.
“We didn’t have breakfast this morning, so running into this refreshing cold coffee is heaven sent,” Christy Cunetta said.
“I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I decided to give Dos Leches latte a try,” Joe Cunetta said. “This is very smooth and easy to drink.”
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Cold Brew Station serves Relentless Roasters’ Awaken Nitro blend (cold coffee on tap infused with nitrogen bubbles) as a base. There are several options depending on your personal taste, including lemon or raspberry infused to regular latte.
The traveling iced-coffee window has no permanent location yet. Cold Brew Station founder Daniel Choiseul Paguaga, who is also founder of Relentless Roasters, says fans should monitor the business’ Instagram and Facebook pages to find out where the truck will appear on any given day.
The Miami-based coffee business was named Relentless Roasters in honor of his 91-year-old grandfather, Rene Paguaga, who according to Choiseul Paguaga, has relentlessly endured years in Nicaragua’s internal conflicts by following his passion: coffee.
“He used to have a really big coffee empire but because of communism it was taken away. He was forced to flee and he had to relocate my mom and her siblings to the United States,” Choiseul Paguaga said. “For some time, he relocated to Costa Rica and Honduras where he had some coffee farms, but eventually in the ’90s was able to return to Nicaragua.”
Paguaga was able to get back his coffee farm and processing mill in the mountainous region of Nueva Segovia, a roughly three-hour drive from Nicaragua’s capital and just south of the Honduran border.
“That sector is known for being the top coffee-producing sector from Nicaragua right now,” Choiseul Paguaga said. “I grew up visiting every so often; I still have most of my family there.”
Upon graduating from Florida International University in 2011, Choiseul Paguaga decided to live a year on his grandfather’s Nicaraguan farm, where he learned the family business.
“It was a hard time adjusting to the rural environment, but I saw the opportunity to learn firsthand about my grandfather’s coffee,” Choiseul Paguaga said. “I fell in love with it all, from the planting to the harvesting to the roasting. I wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty and help out anyway I could.”
Back in Miami, Choiseul Paguaga met with longtime childhood friend Andre Villarreal, a Goldman Sachs financial analyst at the time, and served him a cup of his own harvest.
“Daniel would tell me about his specialty coffee; when I tried it I knew it was something great and Miami had to be a part of it,” Villarreal said.
In 2013, Choiseul Paguaga and Villarreal founded Relentless at 11965 SW 142nd Terr. in Miami, exporting Nicaraguan specialty coffee and delivering to more than 20 Miami restaurants, and selling online through their website, and in farmers’ markets.
It was at a farmers’ market where Choiseul Paguaga had the idea of serving shoppers his cold brew.
“During farmers’ markets we would sell out coffee and it was so hot,” he said. “Our Awaken Nitro coffee is perfect for a hot Miami day. I wanted to bring it directly to our customers.”
Commercial real estate broker Kevin Gonzalez joined Choiseul Paguaga and Villarreal in making the Cold Brew Station truck a reality.
“We take a lot of pride in the meticulous process in how we create our coffee. From the farmer in Nicaragua until we deliver it to the employee of the restaurant that is being sold to,” Gonzalez said. “We noticed that over 90 percent of our revenue was coming from Awaken. It was a no-brainer when we wanted create a new concept to transition from wholesale to retail.”
Gonzalez and his partners serve as baristas in the truck delivering their specialty coffee and educating Miamians across the country about their craft.
“We want to create a sense of community, that anyone can enjoy quality coffee and learn about specialty coffee, too,” Villarreal said. “We are making it accessible for all.”