In a time that’s been difficult on everyone, we wanted to give praise to some of the hard-working cornerstones of our communities. For the first installment of our Immigrant-Owned Business Spotlight, we talked to Hector and Miriam Morales, who own and operate Recreo Coffee & Roasterie. The two have been serving sustainably sourced, homegrown coffee from their location at 1876 Centre Street in West Roxbury since February 14, 2015. They opened a second location downtown at City Hall in June 2017, which has the same selection of coffee and some small lunch options.
From their family farm in Nicaragua to their cafés in Boston, Hector and Miriam are proud of the coffee they make and the story behind it.
Q: How did you come up with your business idea? And what steps did you take to get it started?
A: We started our business in 2011 importing green coffee straight from our family’s farm in Jinotega, Nicaragua and selling it to coffee roasters in Massachusetts and around the U.S. In 2013, we started roasting the coffee in a commercial facility and selling it in farmers markets around Boston. This went well, and people loved the coffee and our story behind it; that we’re a family-owned business, using single origin, shade grown and hand-picked only coffee, and that we can fulfill our social responsibilities by helping the people back in Nicaragua with our business.
After a while, we had the idea of opening a café in the Boston area where we could roast our coffee ourselves and sell it by the cup and by the bag. So in 2015, we started our first café in West Roxbury. There we have our roaster machine, and we provide espressos, brew coffee and retail in different roasts.
Q: What led you and your business to the Boston area?
A: Since we started farmer’s market in the metropolitan area, we had already a following established. After getting input from the Small-Business Administration in Massachusetts, they led us to a Main Street coordinator in West Roxbury who happened to have some open spaces for rent. He showed us some and we liked one in Centre Street.
Q: What is your favorite part of owning/operating your own business?
A: We love the fact that we can bring our delicious coffee to the Boston area (and beyond) and have our customers enjoy a great sustainable cup. To get to know our customers and bring our community together enjoying coffee is a precious thing to experience.
Q: How has Recreo Coffee responded to the COVID-19 pandemic?
It has been a very difficult time for our business. We remained open during all this time having all COVID protocols at the store like no indoor seating, wearing masks, wearing gloves, sanitizing all equipment constantly, allowing only 3 customers at a time, etc. We needed to adapt to a totally new situation.
Q: What do you want people to know about Recreo Coffee?
A: Recreo Coffee & Roasterie is a family-owned business dedicated to bringing specialty coffee from Jinotega, Nicaragua. We are eco-friendly and sustainable, not only at our 364-acre farm in Nicaragua, but also at our café in West Roxbury (and in the one at the Boston City Hall) since all our products are compostable. We also have a strong socially responsible mission. We take care of our 40 families living at the farm providing them with three daily meals, housing, schooling for all ages and a clinic. A percentage of our revenue goes to the farm to support our farmers. This has allowed us to be Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Our coffee goes straight from the farm to our roaster to your cup. It’s delicious chocolate, cinnamon and nutty nuances make Recreo one of the finest coffees around. In our café, you can experience not only the different roasts (bold, medium, light, SWP decaf and microlots), but also you can see a video of our farm and workers in action. As a plus, of course, you can see me [Hector] roasting. Coming to Recreo Coffee is really a True Farm to Cup Experience. We are delighted to be named “The living room of West Roxbury.”
If you want to see why they earned that nickname for yourself, please visit one of their locations and support their valuable mission by just enjoying a delicious cup of coffee! You can visit their City Hall location on the weekdays, and their Centre Street location on both weekdays and weekends. We’d like to thank Hector and Miriam again for their willingness to share their story.
If you know of any other great, local immigrant-owned business, please don’t hesitate to let us know, and we may be able to highlight them on our website and social media as well. You can let us know by sending us a DM on Instagram (@refugeeswelcome_boston) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch our social media channels for more news updates and info about our mission!