Celebrating Don Francisco - the Father Behind the Brand
June 19th, 2020
Don Francisco at the Los Angeles Roastery circa 1980.
You might be familiar with the name as a brand of great-tasting coffee, but did you know that Don Francisco Gaviña is the man behind the iconic brand that is loved by so many around the world? From the beginning, it was Francisco Gaviña’s passion for coffee and focused spirit that led him to create the beloved blends so many appreciate today.
The story of Francisco Gaviña is an inspiring one and the legacy he left behind is still going strong today as the Gaviña family continues to provide high quality coffee to coffee lovers everywhere. Born in the mountains of Trinidad, Cuba, where his family had been growing coffee since 1870, Francisco Gaviña was born into the world of coffee. The family coffee business had been growing and thriving since 1870 and that expertise was passed down to Francisco – even from a young age!
Some might ask what makes a cup of Don Francisco’s Coffee so good – it’s the 150 years of love and experience around coffee that sets it apart.
Where it All Started
As his interest in the family business grew, Francisco became equally known for his independence and perseverance. As a young man he ventured away from home to the United States to get his college education and worked for the Federal Reserve Bank before returning to Cuba to care for his ailing father.
In the prime of his life and with the world struggling around him due to the Great Depression, Francisco Gaviña got back to his roots on the coffee farm. He earned a license to roast the coffee that was grown and processed on the family farm, and soon he began building a thriving business despite the economic challenges around him!
The family business continued to grow through the years but in 1960 the family was forced to flee their home, family land and leave everything behind due to the communist revolution taking place in Cuba. Taking his wife, Anatolia, and their four children thousands of miles away from their roots, the Gaviña family finally settled in Los Angeles where they had very little and definitely none of the land they loved so much back home. Despite the major setback, Francisco still had a dream: to reestablish the family business.
Creating the Dream (again)
With minimal equipment, Francisco, Anatolia and their children started building up the business once again. With a single roaster, they began roasting and selling coffee in small paper bags throughout the Cuban community in Los Angeles – this deeply roasted and robust flavor was a hit within the community. After all, the only coffee choices available were light roasts sold in cans at the time and it was no match for the dark roasts so many loved from their homelands.
As Los Angeles become the capital of diverse cultures – especially Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants – the exceptionally flavorful coffee from Gaviña was in high demand. His sons Pedro, Jose, Paco, as well as his daughter Leonor, became an essential part of the family business, sourcing, roasting, packing and delivering coffee while Francisco continued to ensure only the highest quality coffee beans were used to create the outstanding blends that you still taste today.
This Father’s Day, the Gaviña family celebrates the man behind Don Francisco’s Coffee not only as the father figure that he was to his children and future generations, but also as a man who overcame some extraordinary hurdles but never gave up on his dream.
His attention to detail, passion for coffee and perseverance to start over again in Los Angeles is why so many coffee lovers around the world count Don Francisco’s Coffee as their drink of choice – that love of coffee is found in each blend.
The legacy of Francisco Gaviña is still present around the company today! From the children and grandchildren who still work around the plant in a variety of positions – whether it’s connecting with farmers throughout different regions to source the highest quality beans or finding new ways to share the Don Francisco’s Coffee experience – the father behind the brand instilled pride and love for coffee in all who work at Gaviña, which is evident in every single cup you enjoy.
Happy Father’s Day, from our family to yours!