By: Sharon Aron Baron
It was two days before Carmella Coffee Bar opened and already customers were dropping by asking for a cup.
“I’m sorry we’re not open yet, but can we offer you a cup of Americana?” Asked co-owner Rafael Baretta who offered early birds a free cup of coffee.
Believing there was a need for a high quality coffee shop in the City of Parkland, residents Rafael Baretta and Rainier Abreu pulled their talents – and resources to make it a reality.
Friends for 25 years, Abreu and Baretta will be opening the doors on January 6. Their motive is to create a high-end specialized coffee shop. Originally selling coffee on a subscription basis, Abreu said they wanted to enter the already successful retail market.
“We want to have good coffee…and create a product everyone can enjoy.”
After listening to residents who told them that the city needed a place offering quality coffee, Abreu said he will fill that void as well as provide a comfortable spot to hang out with free internet. Not only will there be coffee, but beer, wine, croissants and paninis along with soups, salads, smoothies and teas.
The coffee will be from a variety of origins: Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Colombia, Guatemala, as well as their own blends. They’ll even offer the customer a variety of brewing techniques.
Rainier Abreu and Rafael Baretta met one another back in high school in Venezuela and both attended Simón Bolívar University where they each earned their degree in chemical engineering. They stayed friends over the years, and would meet again when Baretta called Abreu asking for advice when he was considering moving to Florida.
After college, Abreu moved to Atlanta where he received his MBA from Emory University. He currently works for a satellite communication service and co-owns the coffee bar.
In 2012, Baretta moved to Chile where he worked in the wine business developing the local brand Q7. Since 1918, Baretta’s mother’s side of the family in Colombia has owned Cafe Galavis coffee company, where he recently spent time helping promote and update the brand. Because of these roots, the dream to open a coffee bar was on his mind for several years. He took barista courses in Tampa and learned as much as he could about coffee before he made that dream a reality. Through his training, he also met many local roasters and the partners plan on promoting local brands of coffee at Carmela Coffee Bar along with the international brands.
In 2016, Baretta and his wife Maria Veronica moved to the U.S. Since her parents lived in Boca Raton, she was familiar with the area. After visiting Rainier and his wife Tatiana in Parkland, they decided they liked the area, the public schools, and found a home that they loved in MiraLago where both families live near one another.
“I love living in Parkland,” said Abreu. “After living in Minneapolis, we were living in good school districts, so we wanted to maintain that status. My work transferred me to Florida four years ago, so we wanted to live in a good district.”
Abreu and his wife Tatiana have two children ages four and eight and Baretta and Maria Veronica have four children: two boys and two girls ages four through 10.
The coffee bar offers an app where customers can buy coffee direct and has a foundation which helps coffee workers in Costa Rica and Colombia every time a bottle of water is purchased.
The Grand Opening is January 6, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. Carmela Coffee Bar is located in the Parkland Commons at 7967 N. University Drive 33076. Tentative hours of operation will be 6:30 a.m. weekdays to 10 p.m., and weekends from 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.