Luis Fernando Vélez, a staunch advocate by nature, firmly believes that Colombia possesses all the advantages to export roasted coffee at its source, offering the highest quality coffee in the world. Since the 1990s, he has been vocal about this conviction, even when it was prohibited to buy, roast, and commercialize high-quality beans grown in the country for internal consumption. Vélez defied the law himself, demonstrating to the National Federation of Coffee Growers, using his company as an example, the necessity of changing it.

The Visionary Journey Begins

“When I entered the world of coffee, I believed that Colombia had to start exporting coffee at its source with added value and not allow other countries to do so. Who has ever seen a container of grapes shipped from France to make champagne in New York? In Colombia, we let that happen,” asserts Vélez, a 66-year-old native of Bogotá.

He speaks with the certainty of someone who, after many years, learned, traveled, and experienced all kinds of coffees, ultimately securing Colombia’s first world barista champion.

Today, he leads one of the strongest brands in the market, Amor Perfecto, which exports to nearly 10 countries including Korea, Germany, the United States, and France. The brand has penetrated the Colombian market, reaching even neighborhood cafes, and expects to close the year with sales around 24,000 million pesos (approximately 6 million dollars).

Additionally, he employs about 80 direct workers dedicated to the roasting process and managing the stores in Bogotá, located in places like Chapinero Alto and at the foot of the Gold Museum. The brand’s social media documents how there is a store in Cairo proudly displaying the brand’s logo: a coffee cup seen from above with a heart in the center.

The Passion for Barista Craft

Perhaps the best part of entering this world, according to Vélez, is barista craft (the skill of preparing, serving, and knowing the types of coffee), a profession he saw as a revelation and opportunity for young Colombians. If they master the language of the destination country and know about coffee, baristas have the advantage of easily finding employment, as is happening in Spain. Today, Vélez is one of the country’s main talent developers with his Coffee Academy.

And again, his stubbornness shines through: the entrepreneur and master seeks support from international agencies to deploy a program that allows thousands of young Colombians skilled in coffee and professional baristas to work in the numerous places worldwide where coffee is served and appreciated, from La Closerie des Lilas in Paris to Kitamu Coffee in Tanzania.

Luis Fernando Vélez never stops calculating and seems to embark on impractical endeavors. He gets excited and calculates that if each of the country’s 540,000 coffee-growing families has two children, and they become involved in the production chain and remain connected to their origin and land, it is very likely that they will return to their parents’ land to cultivate higher quality coffee.

His current struggle, after consolidating Amor Perfecto, is to connect Colombians with the efforts of coffee growers and the skill of baristas. “This collaboration will help solidify the position of Colombian coffee as the most outstanding roasted coffee in the world,” he asserts.

With his mission clear from the beginning, the heart and nerve of Amor Perfecto have shown the country the other possible face of coffee: Colombia knew how to produce it, but now it also knows how to roast and prepare it better than anyone else.

Building a Legacy: Amor Perfecto and the Colombian Coffee Revolution

Luis Fernando Vélez’s journey is not just about entrepreneurship; it’s a testament to resilience, vision, and the belief in the potential of Colombian coffee. From challenging regulations to fostering a global appreciation for Colombian coffee culture, his impact extends far beyond the borders of his homeland.

Early Challenges and Defying the Norms

Vélez’s story begins at a time when Colombia’s coffee industry faced significant challenges. In the 1990s, regulations prohibited the commercialization of high-quality beans within the country, stifling the potential for value-added exports. However, Vélez, undeterred by the status quo, saw an opportunity to transform the industry.

Visionary Leadership: The Birth of Amor Perfecto

In the face of adversity, Vélez founded Amor Perfecto, a brand that would revolutionize Colombia’s coffee landscape. With a clear vision of exporting roasted coffee at its source, he embarked on a journey to challenge existing norms and showcase Colombia’s potential as a leader in coffee production.

Nurturing Talent and Innovation

Central to Vélez’s vision was the cultivation of talent and innovation within the coffee industry. Recognizing the importance of barista craft, he established the Coffee Academy, providing young Colombians with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the global market.

Global Impact: Exporting Colombian Excellence

Through tireless dedication and strategic partnerships, Vélez succeeded in positioning Amor Perfecto as a global leader in coffee exports. From Korea to France, his brand has garnered international acclaim, showcasing the unparalleled quality of Colombian coffee.

Empowering Communities: The Legacy of Amor Perfecto

Beyond commercial success, Vélez’s legacy lies in the empowerment of Colombian communities. By creating opportunities for coffee growers and baristas alike, he has not only transformed the industry but also uplifted countless lives.

Conclusion: A Legacy of Excellence

In Luis Fernando Vélez, we find not just an entrepreneur, but a visionary leader who dared to defy the odds and redefine an entire industry. His journey with Amor Perfecto serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, innovation, and above all, love for Colombia’s rich coffee heritage. As the world continues to savor the taste of Colombian coffee, we are reminded of the enduring legacy of a man who dared to dream of a brighter future.

By Danny