Casiani Contreras spent a lot of his time in college drinking coffee.
In between earning marketing and finance degrees from Florida International University in Miami, Contreras would spend his time studying at Macondo, a local coffee shop. He would start his day with a coffee and maybe a breakfast sandwich and, by lunchtime, he was ready for a smoothie and perhaps a quinoa bowl.
“I probably went there 100 times,” he says, and can still remember the smell of the coffee beans as they were being roasted.
Now, Contreras, 29, owns his coffee shop. On Sept. 19, he opened up Macondo Coffee Roasters in the former location of Degajé, in The Village at The Grove.
The night before, Contreras and his wife Anna (photo), his dad, mom and uncle put the finishing touches on the place around 1 a.m. The entire project was a labor of love, with help from his family and business partner Rommel Medina.
In the era of massive chains like Starbucks dominating the coffee market, Macondo is a nice change of pace. The Colombian coffee is painstakingly sourced and brewed — the cold brew is a 12-hour process – and the decor is hip and urban and, like everything at The Grove, Instagrammable. Contreras hired someone from Miami to put the impressive menu on the chalkboard behind the counter. It took two days to complete.
On it you can see a variety of hand-brewed 100% Colombian coffees, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and wraps, paninis, salads, healthy bowls and smoothies.
Contreras made Macondo in Wesley Chapel happen. He said he sent the owner of the original four stores in the Miami area a long email, telling him one day he’d love to own a store of his own. He encouraged them to franchise, and they granted his wish.
But until he moved to Wesley Chapel, because he says he liked the vibe, finding a place to open his Macondo proved elusive. He visited over 10 potential locations, but none of them worked. While he looked, he would often spend his day working (he owns a logistics company) at Degajé.
Then one day, after putting his dream on hold for six months, he found the perfect place. “I was on Google, I don’t remember the actual website, but I saw this place listed for sale and was like, Oh my God,” Contreras says. “I knew it was the one near my house (in Epperson). And, I liked the place!”
So, three months ago, Contreras purchased Degajé and, with a lot of hard work and long hours, turned it into Macondo.
“It was just super meant to be” Contreras says. For more information about Macondo Wesley Chapel (6027 Wesley Grove Blvd., Suite 101), visit MacondoCoffee.com or call (813) 991-5010.