Cafe Valverde is not where you find your average joe. Cup of joe, that is. Eleni and Nelson Valverde, the owners of Salem's newest coffee shop, are coffee experts. The shop has been open a few weeks now and hopefully will give Starbucks (which I occasionally refer to as Charbucks) a run for their money.
Nelson is from Bolivia, where the coffee grows sweet and mellow. This is a flavor profile regarding Bolivian coffee that I borrowed from the Roaster's Club website:
Brightness: bright and clean
Flavor: sweet, with hazelnut and chocolate
Body: silky and well-balanced
Notes: Higher Ground’s Bolivian Caranavi is a complex and flavorful coffee, grown high up in the De Montaña Co-op. Light and refreshing on the palate, the cup features caramel and milk chocolate undertones, a fruity aroma, and a smooth, nutty finish.
Hazelnut? Chocolate? Smelling like a melon? This sounds like my idea of heaven. I enviously think that people who hail from coffee-growing countries have coffee flowing in their veins.
Eleni and Nelson began their coffee adventures in 2004 as self-taught artisan roasters, with a wholesale coffee importing company called Invalsa Coffee. They have worked hard to develop relationships with small coffee farmers in Bolivia, where the coffee is grown on small farms high in the tropical Yungas region. They regularly travel to Bolivia where they taste coffees, buy them, and ship them back to West Newbury, MA, where Invalsa Coffee is located. The coffee is sold online to restaurants, catering companies, and to places as far away as Australia and Antarctica. (It makes sense that penguins like a hot cup of coffee; I would too if I lived there). To be delivered as fresh as possible, the beans are roasted in small batches right before being shipped. They are lightly roasted, as Bolivian coffees' delicate nuances can be lost by over-roasting.
The cafe is warm and inviting and they sell all manner of coffee drinks, teas, smoothies, and baked goods. The staff is very friendly. They have free Wi-Fi. They will be roasting their coffee beans right on the premises soon, and the aroma will be wafting down the Essex Street mall where you can sit outside at the bistro tables in front and in the cool alley next door. Any ingredients they can buy locally, such as milk and chocolate, they do. Having tried their coffee several times, I can definitely attest to how delicious it is, and how it would be tough to go back to...what's that place called? I can't remember.