Our Story

 

Caribe coffee is a family run business started by Wilmer and Elle Carcamo through a love of quality coffee and a vision to improve the quality of coffee that we drink both in our home and in independent coffee shops. 

Caribe Coffee Co. exclusively offers specialty single origin beans.

How it started….

Wilmer was born in Honduras, a beautiful but poor and politically unstable country. His childhood was that of hunger and hand me downs and his first job was at 9 years old carrying concrete after school. He was the second oldest child of a single parent family and looked after his younger sisters when not at school. He always had a drive to seek out a better life and worked hard with his studies despite pressure to leave and work full time and he stayed away from the easy money that gang crime offered.

When he was 20 years old he had worked enough to pay off his mum's mortgage and decided it was time to travel. He moved to the Cayman Islands where he started work as a night shift shelf stacker in a supermarket. His hard work and happy demeanour was soon recognised and at 23 he was enrolled onto the management programme. He became the youngest and fastest rising store manager and was recognised as instrumental in the development of service strategies and staff development across the stores. 

In 2014 Wilmer met his future wife Elle, an ex-pat who had travelled to the Cayman Islands to work after completing her MBA. Elle was born in Northumberland and, after doing an undergrad degree in Edinburgh, worked in the Veterinary Industry until finding her love of business and gaining her MBA at Durham university in 2013. She saw an opportunity to live abroad and take a break after finishing her dissertation and jumped on a plane. She fell in love with salsa and Latino music and met Wilmer through a mutual friend. The two knew immediately it was the real deal and married in 2016 with a wonderful future in what seemed like paradise. 

Sadly life changed after finding out that their son was born with a rare genetic condition that would need lifelong support and the couple decided to move to the UK where they would get the support from Elle's family. After being apart for months through the Visa process Wilmer arrived eager to provide much needed support for his family. Wilmer embraced the cold climate of the NE of England but missed the quality coffee that was a standard in Central America and he quickly saw an opportunity to start up a new business. 

By combining Elle’s business background and love of local and sustainable business with Wilmer’s Honduran heritage and family links to coffee farming (his grannie's farm) they started importing high quality, specialty coffee from Honduras.

They wanted to set about telling anyone who would listen about good quality coffee and how specialty coffee actually helps farmers by paying better commodity prices. Wilmer travelled to Honduras to access cooperatives that supported small, family farms. Many of them would not normally sell to such a small venture but Wilmer found a great cooperative who were happy to work together. Learning the importation protocols, taxes and regulations was a high barrier to entering the market, not to mention the huge competition already in the UK but they were confident there was a market for better, fresh roasted coffee the way the Hondurans drink. They battled through the learning process and imported their first batch in July 2018.

 

They set up a website and social media and aspired to supply the local wholesale service market (coffee shops/pubs/restaurants). The market was totally different to what Wilmer was used to in Cayman, rich Americans love trying new things and are quick to change brand. UK markets were  much more brand loyal and after struggling to break through the barriers of supportive services larger wholesalers offer, they decided to put their focus into retail.

To get their message out there they opted to use local farmer's markets and pushed sampling to get noticed. Their passion for sustainability and waste reduction naturally led to using refillable jars and so began a strong client following and Wilmer won the National Young Market grocery award in 2019.

Wilmer decided to become "the face" of the company as most coffee brands don't have a person associated with them. It worked well in line with social media and vlogging trends, his strong accent and willingness to laugh at himself really got people on-side and they are proud to have an online family and supportive clients. They love to engage with their customers and want everyone to enjoy fantastic coffee.