Before Starbucks locales and Nespresso machines, Kerry Sachs, a former engineer, found himself in una hacienda de café in Lara, Venezuela in 1986. He was on a quest for a quality cup of coffee.
Kerry, along with his brother Jim, who worked in economics and finance, and Eric Bonillo, a restaurant and hospitality entrepreneur, is recreating that Venezuelan hacienda at Puroast, their new cafe opening in Brickell sometime in October.
"Most Americans don't know what real coffee should be," Bonillo said. "Knowing the values of Puroast, the family-feeling behind it, and the honesty of the brand, it really sparked me to join Kerry and Jim to make this coffee shop happen."
The 1,100-square-foot location will cater to two different feels: A classic, laid-back vibe similar to something you'd find in South America and a fast-paced spot to grab a cup of coffee.
At the shop, the coffee will be brewed one of two ways — at the counter and in a way that makes Puroast Puroast. Baristas will use brewing methods similar to those Kerry learned from coffee growers. It will be roasted for quality, not volume or speed, creating a smooth, less bitter and less acidic taste. It will then be poured into a ceramic cup made in South America and hand-delivered to seated customers.
"We're trying to recreate that wonderful moment Kerry had in the hacienda," Bonillo said. "It will be a mixture of a five-star environment, with a hacienda feel. It'll be a unique feeling that you probably won't find anywhere else, with the best tasting coffee you've ever had."
Besides the brews, fresh-squeezed juices, croissants, cachitos, flatbread sandwiches, and light salads will be on the menu too.
But Puroast was, and still is, the brand of coffee the brothers created in Northern California more than 25 years ago after Kerry's Venezuelan adventure. It started off small, and the first customers were local co-ops, natural food stores, and gourmet shops. Now it's a national coffee brand, selling dozens of roasts in local stores and online.
"We built a pretty significant coffee production company," Kerry said. "But we realized there's more to this. This is a business opportunity for us to promote a brand that's already there and create this unique coffee shop concept with it."
What Kerry tasted in the Venezuelan Andes back in 1986 went beyond a traditional, American-style cup of joe. He called it the gift of the grower, a concept that has heavily inspired the new Brickell cafe and an experience he and Jim want to give their future customers.
"Being so close with the coffee growers, I ended up learning what makes coffee good and what's important about making good coffee," Kerry said. "Now we can present a taste to coffee drinkers that they have never experienced. Coffee is an amazingly powerful concept. It's truly a gift."
Beyond giving customers that gift, Bonillo wants to show drinkers that coffee in the States can "taste like home" too.
"People from South America tend to be coffee savvy," Bonillo said. "Sometimes we feel a frustration that the coffee here isn't the same as the coffee back home. The people that travel from afar to visit Miami will now be able to find something that finally does taste like what they're used to back home."
This Brickell spot will be the first of many. Kerry, Jim, and Bonillo plan to "take this to many other places," but don't have a definitive timeline yet. Right now, their focus is making the first Puroast the best it can be.
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"We're providing this magic gift of how coffee growers roast," said Kerry. "Only Puroast will show you what that's like. It's coffee that'll rock your world."
Puroast does not have an exact opening date but expects it to be sometime this month. It will be located at 632 S. Miami Ave., and hours will be Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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