There are a lot of people in Greenpoint who claim to know coffee, but I can safely say that no one in Greenpoint who knows more about coffee than owners of the Pueblo Querido Café on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard (195 Greenpoint Ave). Run by two brothers, Christian and Fabian Guzman Herrera, along with Fabian’s wife Andrea, the three Colombians come from the Quindío region in the heart of Colombia’s coffee growing heartland, known as the coffee triangle. Right now, probably a hundred angry baristas are ready to write snide comments, but please bear with me. The family grew up on a coffee farm and have a lifetime of experience with every aspect of making the perfect cup of coffee from growing the beans, to roasting the coffee themselves, to pouring out a perfect espresso or cappuccino.
So how did they end up in Brooklyn? Both brothers were educated in South America where Christian studied business management in both Colombia and Chile, while his brother studied electronic engineering in Colombia and Spain. Although they left Quindío region, it never left their hearts. Coffee farming was not even paying the bills, so they left, never forgetting their beautiful part of Colombia. They want to not only help out their parents, who still run a coffee farm back in Colombia, but also the other farmers in the region. They named their place Pueblo Querido, which roughly translates as “beloved hometown,” because being in Greenpoint has not cooled their ardor for Colombia, its food, and most of all, its coffee. They do a lot of business with the Colombian community in Jackson Heights, who often ask why they set up the business here and not in Queens, but the two brothers love their Greenpoint location and heaped praise on their Israeli landlord Ofer Zur who helped them in many aspects of setting up their business.
Pueblo Querido recently marked its first year despite Andrea giving birth to twins, which naturally prevented the couple from devoting themselves fully to the business. Christian explained that the business succeeded because of the huge amount of time they devote to Pueblo Querido and their goal of making everything to the highest quality standards possible so that regular customers say “if Pueblo Querido does it, then its good.” Days are consumed with roasting coffee in the morning and afternoons, baking Colombian breads and pastries like pandebono aka the Colombian bagel and empanada de cambray, as well as cooking more traditional empanadas and arepas de choclo, all based on authentic family recipes. Word of mouth has helped spread their reputation for authenticity and high quality and although they have done very little advertising, they have achieved success.
Talking to Christian and Fabian you cannot help but sense that this is a family business with members who are more than merely interested in making money. While helping out their farmer relatives and friends back home by importing “direct trade” specialty coffee, their business also promotes and spreads Colombian culture here in Greenpoint. One thing is certain-these brothers are passionate about Colombia and a visit to Pueblo Querido will reward your palate.
To help celebrate their one year anniversary, they’re giving away some coffee on the house for this week for all Greenpointers followers with the code “Soy Chichipato.” Also, make sure to tag them (@pqcoffee) on Instagram.
Pueblo Querido is located at 195 Greenpoint Avenue. They are open Monday to Saturday, 6am – 5pm and Sunday, 8am – 5pm.