If you have experienced their thoughtfully-roasted coffees, you’ve already come to know a great deal about Luis Hellmund and Cristina Coll. They take their craft extremely seriously. In an instant, you can go from a gregarious light-hearted conversation about travel, food, and sports, to a hallowed talk about the complexities of roasting temperatures, first and second cracks, and the importance of fair labor practices. You might be speaking with either of them when the conversation turns to the deep and philosophical discussion of the perfect cup of coffee.
Being on the same page when you’re a married couple in business is crucial to its success. Passion and commitment to the shared vision are key, but you must also bring your individuality. Two halves make a whole, but who are those halves at South Slope?
Here’s an interview with Luis and Cristina—the duo who make the roasting at South Slope Coffee so inspired and vibrant.
Where did you grow up?
Luis: I grew up in Miami until I was 8 years old. I have fond memories of my early childhood in Miami. It was a very different city back then—a good city to grow up in. Nowadays it’s a bit too crazy.
Then I moved to Caracas, Venezuela. I could not have loved it more and look back at it with fond memories. It is that feeling where you wished you never grew up. Most of my family lived there, so we were very close to my uncles and cousins, and had lots of friends. It was a very familiar environment. The base of who I am and what I like to eat and do all comes down to my formative years in Caracas.
Cristina: I grew up in Caracas and lived there until I was 17. Of course, I went to school, but I enjoyed being on the golf course or playing team sports for my school more than anything. It was definitely a good time in my life and leaving all of that behind was tough. I miss it, but like everything in life, things come to an end and new things come along. I wouldn’t change anything from my past or present. This might sound cliche, but it’s true: I am who I am because of my past.
Both Luis and Cristina love to travel. Where would they want to go if they had a free plane ticket?
Luis: I would go anywhere in Germany (but if we’re being specific, Munich). I have German roots. I always loved everything to do with the country in almost every aspect of food and sports culture. I am a big Bundesliga and German national soccer team fan. Believe it or not, I have not traveled there even though I have been to Europe on various occasions.
Cristina: I would like to go back home to Venezuela but travel around the magical places I never explored. To the Amazonas, to the desert, to the highest mountain there, and to the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls.
When asked what the most challenging thing she’s ever done in her life is, Cristina admits it’s learning how to ride a motorcycle.
Cristina: I know every time I get on it, it’s dangerous. I have to be 100% in the moment and looking out for everything around me. I love it and I’m so happy I learned how to ride. I’ve always loved motorcycles and I’m very lucky to have married someone who also shares that passion. He even taught me how to ride, and had the patience to be with me every step and every ride to make sure I rode safely every time.
Luis: My prized possession is my motorcycle. It gives me joy and can take me places near and far.
Like what you’ve read about this dynamic duo? Stay tuned for more on this coffee-roasting couple in June!