Jonathan Yanez

Jonathan Yanez

Hi everyone, this is Jonathan. I am proudly originally from the beautiful land of Ecuador in South America. I currently reside in the USA with my wife Abi. I have been involved in the Hospitality industry for 10+ years. I am a Business consultant with a main focus on coffee, food and beverages. I am also a Coffee Judge in the national championships in Ecuador and the USA, and soon to be an Authorized Specialty Coffee Association Trainer. A big part of my life purpose is to learn, and to share, that is why if I am not working, I will probably be traveling. So far I have visited 45+ countries in South, Central, North America, and Europe.

Coffee arrived on my way in an unexpected way, and since then I have been combining and sharing all my passions with people around the world. This is my story:

My coffee story began in 2013 when I made the decision to enroll in college to study Food and Beverage Management at the same time as I was completing my Certification as a Cook in International Cuisine. During this journey, I was doing my pre-professional internships at a culinary institute, where I began my training to represent the institution in culinary competitions. My first competition was the Culinary Cup of the Americas held at the Second Congress of Continental Heritage Cuisines in Quito in which with a lot of effort, we managed to obtain the third place with my team.

Culinary Cup of the Americas Quito 2014

Time continued to pass, and at the same time I continued training and doing my internships at Del Porton Bakery, and Nocciola Chocolate Shop in my hometown Ambato – Ecuador.

How did my Coffee story started?

One day, an invitation arrived to be part of the Culinary Cup of the Americas 2015 in Costa Rica, in this contest I got an award as a Junior Chef of the American Continent, but in addition to this, it was in the same event the place where I discovered and I saw the specialty coffee industry from another perspective as it was the first time I had heard someone say that the coffee they were serving had notes of peach, jasmine and caramel.

Culinary Cup of the Americas Costa Rica 2015

Back in Ecuador, I started my research for barista courses and I had the opportunity to certify myself as a barista under the guidance of Cafelogia Especialistas del Café and its head instructor Vinicio Bastidas, the first Ecuadorian to represent Ecuador in a Barista World Championship.

Once the course was finished, I joined the Cafelogia team, and my journey in this exciting coffee world began. With the team, we traveled throughout Ecuador advising small and big entrepreneurs in their coffee projects, as well as giving courses, master classes, and attending events.

Professional Barista Certification, Ambato 2015

Thanks to coffee, I also started traveling a lot more. At the end of 2015, I visited Colombia to do a Master Training in “World Fine Pastry” and using this opportunity, I constantly searched for the best Coffee Spots in Bogotá, making great friends and expanding my horizons in the specialty coffee industry.

Top 5 Coffee, together with Colombian Champion Mauricio Romero, Bogotá 2015

The competitions season

It was already 2016, a very busy but at the same time fruitful year. With my team we won the Second place in the Culinary Cup of Ecuador, and also the First place in the Culinary Cup of the Americas held in Cochabamba-Bolivia. It was a dream come true for sure.

Culinary Cup of Ecuador 2016
Culinary Cup of the Americas
Cochabamba-Bolivia 2016

In the same year, I competed in my first National Barista Championship, which due to lack of experience and ignorance of the rules and regulations, I was disqualified for exceeding the time. Frustrated by this, I decided to educate myself much more and began to experiment and go much deeper into the unknown areas of coffee until then. I learned and developed more in depth my quality control practices, roasting skills, consistency, and sensory skills. With this, I noticed how my knowledge gradually became more solid.

Ecuadorian Barista Championship 2016

The same year, I traveled to New York in the United States and took my first big tour of specialty coffee shops, getting involved for the first time in the scene of specialty coffee consumption on a large scale like in the USA. To finish that amazing year in my career, I managed to obtain First Place in the National Cocktail Competition which purpose was to obtain the flagship cocktail of the city of Ambato – Ecuador.

Left : NYC Specialty Coffee Trip 2016 | Right: National Cocktail Tournament Ambato 2016

Competitions Part 2

In February 2017, my world took a radical turn since I got the offer to travel to give advise on a gastronomic project in the enchanted islands, Galapagos-Ecuador. While I was carrying out this project, and enjoying the wonders of this paradise, the idea of ​​opening the first Sustainable Specialty Coffee Shop in Ecuador came up, so in May of the same year, I started with the 1835 Coffee Lab Project.

In the same year, I competed again in the National Barista Championship, moving to the finals and finishing in fifth place. After this experience, I traveled to Brazil to attend the Producer & Roaster Forum that was held in Franca. I met 40+ roasters from all over the world, and a wide number of Brazilian producers. Once I returned to Ecuador, I traveled to Mexico to make a tour of specialty coffee shops, and again to Colombia to attend the National Barista and Brewing Championship at Expo Cafés.

Up Left: Producer & Roaster Forum Brazil 2017 | Down Left: Expo Cafés Colombia 2017 | Right: Ecuador Barista Championship 2017

At the beginning of 2018, I got my college degree as a Food and Beverage Manager, and the day after graduating, I moved to the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos islands to open 1835 Coffee Lab. I had several months of intense work to launch and position the brand in the local and international market, but this hard work was rewarded with the opening of a second point of sale at the Baltra airport in less than six months.

In August 2018, I participated as a Sensory Judge in the National Barista Championship. After this wonderful experience, and motivated by the Chief Judge Richard Corney of New Zealand; I decided to sail towards a new course, thus culminating my partnership in 1835 Coffee Lab to start traveling through South America, visiting coffee shops and farms in Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, finishing in Brazil to attend to the World Coffee Championships in the categories of: Brewing, Coffee in Good Spirits, Latte Art and Cupping. This event took place in Belo Horizonte.
When I returned to Ecuador thirsty for knowledge, I began the search for a master’s degree so that I could continue learning and developing my abilities and knowledge.

Up: 1835 Coffee Lab | Down Left: With Sasa Sestic, WBC Champion / World Coffee Championships 2018 | Right: Ecuador Barista Championship 2018

More Championships, knowledge and Coffee trips

In 2019 I got back to the Galapagos. This time to San Cristobal island for the opening of the coffee area in the best bakery on the islands, Sabor Cuencano. In this place I made great friends and it helped me to prepare the schedule for a trip that I started later in the month of April to the city of Boston in the United States to attend the Specialty Coffee Expo and the World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup. I volunteered to help in the judge calibrations and also in the World Barista Championship stage.

After this amazing event, I traveled through the east coast of the United States visiting New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, searching for the best specialty coffee shops, roasters and micro roasters. I continued my journey by flying to Guatemala, and touring Central America, visiting farms and specialty coffee shops in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and ending this great trip attending to the Producer & Roaster Forum Guatemala 2019, where I shared coffee knowledge with 70+ roasters from all over the world.

World Barista Championship – Boston 2019 | Producer & Roaster Forum – Guatemala 2019

New continent, new life, and never stop learning

Back in my beloved Ecuador, I got a scholarship for the master’s program that I wanted to study. I moved to the city of Barcelona – Spain in October 2019 to start my Master’s degree program in Hotels and Restaurants Management.

In this beautiful country, I learned hands on, and in depth how the specialty coffee culture in Europe is, and I also opened Noa Specialty Coffee as Consultant, and Head Barista.
While doing my studies, I discovered various roasters and visited specialty coffee shops in Sweden, Belgium, Andorra, France and Switzerland.
I was also working as a consultant in a Moroccan – Lebanese food restaurant called Habibi when the coronavirus arrived. When Spain finally lifted the lockdown restrictions, I embarked on the creation of a concept called Hummus & Company where I developed the whole concept, designed the space, and after opening, worked as Executive Chef. At the same time, I worked as a consultant in the only Kosher burger restaurant in Barcelona , Ilans Burger Bar.

Hummus & Company | Noa Specialty Coffee
Barcelona – Spain 2019 – 2020

In November 2020, I got back to Ecuador, with the goal fulfilled of having completed my master’s degree. Abi came to stay with me and we spent 10 months, working and developing new projects in order to share all that knowledge generated during the past 8 years of experience.

Aligned Coffee is my latest entrepreneurship and it is the first project we are developing together with my beautiful wife Abi. It was born in 2021 with the idea of mixing both of our passions and our fields of expertise, Wellness – Education – Coffee.

Our main goal is to educate people in all the things involved in the crafting of a delicious cup of coffee, from seed to cup.

We currently run a small operation, but we have big dreams and goals. We source our beans from places I have had the opportunity of visiting, and we get them raw from an importer. After receiving our raw material, we complete all the process by ourselves.
On the other end, I am in charge of the Educational and Operations area of the business. Our main core is the consultancy for Coffee Businesses, but I am also in the process of getting Authorized by the Specialty Coffee Association to be an educator of the Coffee Skills Program.

After our recent 80 day trip around Europe, and visiting a lot of Specialty coffee shops, and roasteries in 25+ countries, we are inspired, and in the process of finding the perfect place to open our own operational space (wherever it may be in the USA 🤞).

It has been a long journey, and I am always grateful, and looking forward for all the amazing opportunities that soon will come. Thanks for reading, and being part of this adventure.

If it fits in your mind, it fits in your world…!!!

Jonathan Yanez. R

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