Our family’s passion for coffee began more than a century ago when our ancestors José María and Ramón Gaviña left their homeland in the Basque region of Spain for the verdant coffee-growing regions of southern Cuba. On that lush Caribbean island, with its warm tropical breezes, fertile soil and towering mountains, the brothers planted a parcel of land with coffee trees and called their farm, Hacienda Buenos Aires.
It was there that our family patriarch Don Francisco Gaviña was born. As a boy, he watched his father teach the farm workers how to till the soil, plant the seedlings, tend the trees and make sure that only the ripest coffee cherries were handpicked for maximum flavor. He also learned, first-hand, how to process, dry and sort only the finest beans, and then roast them to perfection.
The family passion for coffee lives on today through Don Francisco’s four children: Pedro, José and Paco Gaviña, and Leonor Gaviña-Valls. They grew up on the farm and together with their father, they brought the family heritage and coffee expertise to the United States. In 1967 they opened F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. Today, José Gaviña serves as the company’s chief financial officer and head of sales. In his dual roles, he is responsible for the company’s financial planning and forecasting, and its nationwide sales teams. He sits on the Board of Directors of the National Coffee Association and is a member of the Green Coffee Association.
As president, Pedro is responsible for defining and articulating the company’s vision. He oversees the daily operations and is closely involved in all aspects of green coffee. He uses his extensive cupping experience to select coffees and create blends for the Don Francisco’s Coffee label.
He is also actively involved in promoting the coffee industry and sharing his keen coffee expertise through several industry organizations. He was a former member of the National Coffee Association’s Board of Directors and is a former board member of the Pacific Coast Coffee Association.
Francisco, known as “Paco” is the oldest son of the company’s founder. As the vice president of operations he has helped design each of the company’s roasting plants and is the principal architect of each facility’s engineering structure. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in engineering. He is registered as a “Professional Civil Engineer” by the California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, and a “Life Member” of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Leonor Gaviña-Valls is the vice president of marketing and is responsible for the company’s public relations efforts, the marketing of its coffee brands and overseeing its major corporate social responsibility endeavors. She recently became a Licensed Q Grader after passing the Coffee Quality Institute®‘s rigorous accreditation exam. As one of the company’s resident Q Graders, Leonor routinely conducts cupping (coffee tasting) sessions to ensure the richness and flavor of each coffee blend. She is a former member of the Pacific Coffee Association’s Board of Directors. She was also a founding member and past president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. She received the organizations “Outstanding Contribution to the Association” award in 1994 for her exceptional leadership.
Pedro’s son, Michael Gaviña is the purchasing manager and another Licensed Q Grader. Like his father, aunt and uncles, he’s also active in supporting the coffee industry. He is a member of the SCAA Roasters Guild and serves on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Coast Coffee Association. In 2010, he received the PCCA’s coveted “Supporter of the Year Award.”