Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 76 of 135

77 Felchner from BARISTA was the most excited about the idea of shipping coffee to Puerto Rico, and we have not been disappointed with their coffees. Since we consider ourselves a multiroaster coffee shop, we have also served coffee from different parts of Puerto Rico, including Yauco, Utuado, and Ciales." They found the café's location in what was once a night school and had since been abandoned. When Abner fi rst looked at the space, its carpeted fl oor was covered in spent hypodermic needles and even human feces. But the couple was sold, and when they tore up the carpet and another layer of linoleum, what emerged was an ornate, pink-tinged tile fl oor, perfectly distressed—the kind of authenticity a Brooklyn [N.Y.] shop would pay a small fortune for. An older customer told Karla that these tiles had been made right there on the island and that the space was once an upscale restaurant. When Comunión opened, the rest of the building was vacant. Next door, graffi ti was sprayed on the plywood covering a window saying that Puerto Rico was stronger than Maria. Shattered glass littered the sidewalk. These days, however, a small brewery has laid plans to take over the rest of the space, creating another small hub of locally owned, independent business on Avenida Juan Ponce de Leon. Though it hasn't been open long, Comunión is already the go-to café for many locals. Maria Grubb, chef at Gallo Negro, comes by before her dinner shift for a triple espresso. When you watch Comunión's enter- taining Instagram Stories (@cafecomunion), it becomes a who's-who of Santurce—there's that bartender; I recognize that artist. Following Hurricane Maria, Abner and Karla returned to Portland for a string of fundraising events organized by chef Cristina Báez called PDX Feeds Puerto Rico. "We were not expecting to come back to Portland this year because we were so busy and focused on opening the business, but it was the best thing that we could do before fi nally opening," says Abner. "It was like a refreshing boost to us. It was awesome to work again behind the coffee bars over there and to see so many people we love in the coffee industry." Now that he's home and Comunión has fi nally found its footing, Abner has found himself happily entrenched in a new routine, having created a fl ow behind the bar that he's slowly but surely teaching to his coworkers. "I can be intense in many aspects of my life," Abner says. "And I brought that intensity to coffee. It's a learning experience every day." e k —Abner Roldán, of Café Comunión

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