Cedric Sprock (37) has every reason to be proud of the achievements of his “young” Coffee Factory.
The experience he gained helped him grow as an entrepreneur.
A Dutch bachelor’s degree in business communication and administration followed by an MBA degree obtained at UNA/Curises earned him the position of Chief Accountant for the offshore sales activities at Schlumberger. His working area was from Mexico to Argentina. “This was the best schooling imaginable. I now reap the fruits of my business travels around Europe, the United States and Latin America”.
In 2004 he established The Coffee Factory, a local coffeeroasting business, offering premium gourmet coffee. Also
in 2004, the first Café Barista location opened its doors in Damacor, a suburban area, with 2 employees in addition to himself. In 2006 two outlets of his trademark Café Barista were opened at the new airport terminal of Curaçao, followed a year later by one more at Avila Hotel. In 2009, with 52 employees on the payroll, a new central distribution center became necessary, which will be operational in 2010. “Our growth is continuous, but we are slowing the process down. We need to be able to oversee every aspect to guarantee the quality of our products
and services”. This process of consolidation will continue, after which new challenges will be looked into. There is no rush for Cedric Sprock.
Being a JCI member himself, he won the The Outstanding Young Person Award of the JCI Dutch Caribbean in 2006. In 2008 he received the Frente A Frente Progressive Award, and also in 2008, Fatum Insurance Company granted Café Barista the ‘Best in Business’ award. These awards were followed in 2009 by the ‘Innovation 2009’ award from Innovation Center Curaçao and the ‘Best Brand’ award from the University of the Netherlands Antilles.
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The Creator of “Curaçao’s Coffee”: Cedric Sprock
Curaçao’s Coffee is made with love.
The best part of waking up in Curaçao might just be Café Barista in your cup. Its creator, Cedric Sprock (42), sources green coffee beans from various regions in Colombia (Tolima, Nariño, Boyacá, etc). Once they arrive in Curaçao, he roasts them in a coffee roaster. Equal parts Art and Science, Café Barista’s unique blend results in a chocolate-caramel undertone (a nod to the Latinos), a slightly acidic after-taste (a nod to the Europeans), and a lighter consistency (careful not to overwhelm the Americans.) “As a yu di Kòrsou, I’ve experienced all these flavors in my coffee, so I’m highly attuned to nuances. It’s difficult to please everyone… but that’s exactly what we try to do at Café Barista.”
Don’t be fooled by the name, “Café Barista” isn’t just a coffee shop, it’s a full-fledged coffee factory. It employs 88 employees, of which 15 are baristas certified by the Specialty Coffee Association Europe (SCAE), who service the four coffee shop locations (Mahaai, Avila Hotel, Hato Airport) and two Deli France locations. Additionally Café Barista distributes its roasted coffee blend to 300+ companies, hotels and restaurants. The company also imports high quality coffee machines from Italy (Bianchi, La Marzocco, Astoria) and resells or leases them.
A firm believer in “knowledge is our main differentiator”, Cedric turned himself into a coffee expert thanks to his Bogotá-based Coffee Mentor Irma Milena Mayorca Morales (Especialistas del Café)… and he can go on and on about coffee: beans, pricing, customs, roasting etc. If you want to learn more, just ask him over a cup of Café Barista!
Cedric and one of his employees, Chris van Aanholt. Chris writes:
Cedric and one of his employees, Chris van Aanholt. Chris writes: “You are the kind of person that every employee needs in order to have an enjoyable and pleasant work environment.”
Lets take a moment to rewind. 10 years ago the gourmet coffee market was pretty much non-existent: 70% of Curaçao’s coffee drinkers would drink instant coffee (with lots of sugar to cover up the taste!)… and Cedric was a successful middle manager at Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company. He had just completed his MBA at Curises and was living a very comfortable life. So what compelled him to sell his car, boat, motorcycle, to start a gourmet coffee business?
“I loved working at Schlumberger and learned so much about running a global business. But I also value my independence… ‘working for the man’ had taken a toll on me (…) I lost my parents (mother in 1990, father in 1991) so I was forced to become independent at a young age. The pain and suffering of losing them made me realize that I would feel most fulfilled if I manage to make people happy in my career… Good products and service result in happy people.”
Moreover, Cedric was raised by entrepreneurs. Cedric’s mother, Astrid Sprock-Maduro, was one of the first to start a car rental in Curaçao in the 1970's and his uncle, Pempi, who used to run popular restaurant Tasca Don Francisco, taught him the customer service ropes. “Maduros are known to be entrepreneurs, so it’s in my DNA.”
But Cedric didn’t just start a coffee business on a whim… He did extensive local and global market research and paid careful attention to quality (of coffee beans and machines). He took great care to build a business he could be proud of. A business he genuinely loves. In fact, his wife, Nanda, a former Schlumberger colleague, is his co-founder and business partner. (“The best thing that ever happened to me is being able to work with my wife.”), Many of Café Barista’s employees are folks Cedric enjoyed working with at Schlumberger, and the coffee business, much like the oil business, provides plenty of opportunities and challenges that keep him well-caffeinated and alert.
Cedric and Nanda Sprock and their 2 adorable kids surrounded by Coffee Beans in Colombia.