– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
Well, my name is Javier Parra. As you know, I have a coffee shop in Holbox Island, a minuscule island in the Mexican Caribbean.
– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
It might sound a bit of a cliché, but I held a job for a while in Sao Paulo, and I had a coffee that changed the perception I had about coffee. Since then, I’ve been getting involved in the coffee scenario.
– When did Clandestino Café open and what is the story behind?
Some time after I had that life-changing coffee I decided to quit everything I was doing and start my coffee journey. So, I started with a small coffee shop in my hometown, Chetumal and named it “Clandestino”, which can be translated to “clandestine”: we were doing coffee in a different way as it was usually done in the city. Then, at the beginning of 2017 we decided to open a branch in Holbox Island, and it’s been amazing.
– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
I wouldn’t be able to tell, I just like to make coffee, treat it with respect when roasting and brewing. I do everything to give people a coffee I would love to drink.
– What was your first coffee experience?
If I talk about my very first coffee experience, I would say a dark, burned and bitter coffee. But as I said before, the first good coffee I had, was in Sao Paulo, an espresso.
– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee?
It was about 5 years ago, when I was working in Sao Paolo and stopped by a coffee shop named Coffee Lab run by Isabela Raposeiras. I was curious about what they were doing there, so I became a regular at the shop.
– What was your best coffee experience?
That’s an easy one. It was when I went to Honduras with Maria Isabela Caballero, we went to Finca El Puente. Being surrounded by coffee plantations, walking among coffee bushes, picking my own cherries and tasting different coffee samples has been the most amazing experience I have had.
– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
That is another easy one. I literally live above the coffee shop and I´m at the coffee shop from 8 am to 6 pm or later. So, I guess you can tell if I brew coffee at home or not. Regarding the method I use; I mostly like to use pour overs such as Chemex and V60. Personally, I like to use a ceramic brewer my brother got me from Germany, the Bayreuther Kaffeemaschine from the german company Walküre.
– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, Vietnamese style,…?
I like my coffee as it is. No sugar, no milk. If I drink it cold, I like to make a Japanese flash brew style.
– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
I would say I´m a heavy coffee drinker. When I am at the shop I´m always tasting the espresso to see if it’s right, the had brews or new coffee samples we could get.
– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
I´ve been in the coffee industry for about 3 years. Previously I had what people would call a “normal” job. You know, a guy in an office, going to meetings here and there, following and schedule everyday from 8am to who knows what time, working under pressure for someone else.
– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
I do, I like to play poker but that is on pause right know.
– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
If I could recommend anything. I would recommend drinking coffee in a coffee farm, among coffee producers. That is one of the most amazing experiences I had.
– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
I do not actually rely on websites. I like to talk with other baristas, roasters and farmers with much more experience. I believe more on that kind of knowledge and obviously on the practice.
– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Always ask questions about extraction methods, coffee roasters, coffee yields, about the coffee you are about to drink, about Everything you want to know. Most baristas are willing to share, and this also encourage us as baristas to keep learning and improving to keep up with our customers.