PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Marta Vidal and her family are bringing Colombian flavor to their Peoria coffee shop, while helping those back home.
The Vidals own Café Santa Rosa, a coffee shop in Peoria, and a 25-acre farm with 60,000 coffee trees in El Hato, Colombia.
Marta Vidal, owner and general manager of Café Santa Rosa, said coffee is integral to Colombia’s culture and identity.
“Coffee is big in Colombia. As a matter of fact, the stereotype is Colombian coffee is the best coffee in the world,” said Vidal.
Vidal, a former Peoria Public Schools teacher, said they bought Santa Rosa Farm 14 years ago to be independent from their families, but had no experience in the coffee business.
“We bought the farm and started getting to know the people that work there. All their struggles, all their needs. So we’re like we have to do something with this coffee because we live in America and we can bring the coffee and sell it,” she said.
Vidal’s husband learned how to roast coffee, and they opened Café Santa Rosa in March 2020. They employ more than two dozen farmers in Colombia, mostly single mothers. Their images are proudly displayed throughout the shop.
“The backbone of this whole operation are the farmers, the harvesters… We’re happy to be able to pay them fair wages, be able to keep them within the community,” she said.
And it’s not easy work, as everything is done by hand.
“All these moms, they harvest all day long by hand, cherry by cherry. And then at the end of the day, of course as moms, they have to go back home and do the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry… and the laundry is by hand,” she said.
The coffee beans are shipped to Peoria, where they are roasted and turned into coffee, with no middleman involved.
“Since we’re doing everything from seed to cup, we’re able to put that profit, that savings, invest back in the farm and create jobs,” said Vidal.
Vidal said the coffee shop allows them to take care of their farmers beyond a paycheck, even getting one single mother farmer a washing machine. She said her dream is to get washing machines for all her employees.
“We’re able to do health clinics once a year, we’re able to have them running water in their houses. We’re able to help mitigate their disadvantages, economic disadvantages in Colombia,” she said.
Café Santa Rosa is celebrating the Day of the Dead on Oct. 29 with a one-hour salsa class.
The coffee shop is located at 5901 Prospect Rd #7 in Peoria.