Humans of coffee: Gabriela Kavanaugh

The following article was written by: manmakecoffee on December 7, 2017

Who is Gabriela Kavanaugh?

I am a weird person, and I will proudly say that God made me this way, ha.

I have a very unique sense of humor that often leaves people wondering “where in the world that came from.” I am a high feeler, so I tend to empathize with others very easily.

I think it’s important to remember what really matters about this life, everything is fleeting except our souls. I want my life to impact others hearts and hence relationships are of utmost importance to me.

That being said, my faith in Jesus Christ gives me the ability to love others because Jesus chose to die for me when I was at my worst state. Everyone is in need of love and having experienced this I want to share it with others.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Many of my childhood memories are coffee related, because my grandfather was a Venezuelan coffee roaster. My fondest memory that involved coffee has a lot to do with why I am a coffee professional today. We had these brown ceramic espresso cups that my mom got from her mom and in them my mom would make “café con leche,” a dollop of foamy milk with some coffee. This happened every saturday morning starting as early as my memories go back.

If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

Honestly nothing. I truly believe that the decisions we make, good or bad, shape who we are. I hope to never give regret the power to drive me from taking risks.

What do you feel most proud of?

I am at the point in my coffee career where I have bumped shoulders with amazing coffee professionals. Honestly this has been super intimidating and I have struggled with comparing my coffee business and experiences with theirs. With time I have come to see that we all are starting with no experience and we all have opportunities to grow. The specialty coffee world is intimidating to outsiders and even those who are a part of it and I feel most proud of growing into my own in the midst of all of this. I am starting to realize that my measure of success has to be based on different terms. Success means that today I did my best to bring life to people.

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

People count right? I would say my husband Dustin who is the love of my life and always keeps things fun while encouraging me in my identity. The second person would be my best friend Ellie who knows me so well and encourages me to seek truth. I think the only physical possession I would want is a copy of The Bible. As a Christian the Bible is the word of God and it has changed my life and constantly encourages me.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She was fully known and fully loved.

What is your passion project?

Currently I am growing a coffee roasting company, Caballo Rojo Coffee. This started when I was questioning what was the intersection between my passions, skills and life experiences. I quickly started connecting the dots and saw that roasting coffee could be it. My grandfather was a major player in the coffee industry in Venezuela in the 60s-70s, he was the president of the coffee association and had a huge roastery. Though he died at a young age my mom continued to teach us about the coffee industry. We traveled a lot as kids and on many trips to Latin America we met coffee farmers and visited local roasteries.

To this day I still know several coffee farmers that I hope to partner with in the near future. My love for culture and desire to see it spread through coffee seemed like the perfect start. I started roasting and buying coffee from importing companies like, Caravela and Ally Coffee, who work directly with farmers to get their beans. I realized that I could make a difference in my local community by connecting it with international communities.

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

I tend to gravitate toward Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and I love a nice pour over from a Kalita wave or a good shot of espresso.

What does a perfect day look like?

A perfect day for me would consist of camping with my husband and friends at Greyson Highlands State Park in North Carolina in the middle of October. Everywhere you are in the park you have sweeping views of mountains and wild horses. It has been a favorite spot for me and my husband to get quality rest from the business of life. I always bring freshly roasted coffee on our trips here and sometimes when we make coffee at home the smell reminds of all the memories we have made while camping.