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- The Origins -

Curioso was created by Aaron Blaser during his time as a staff member at Kalu Yala, an off-grid startup in the outskirts of Panama City. A videographer by trade, he had little reference for how to start a coffee business but knew that he wanted to create a venture that helped the community and was founded on environmental principles. A love for coffee led him to his creation of an on-site cafe and he did the next best thing he could do: hired all his friends to help him! The cafe began as an alternative to a community coffee free-for-all.

We started roasting as many first time coffee roasters do: a sort of stove-top experiment in our homes. Living in the middle of a jungle meant that our "stove" was really a large pit fire and our oven mitts were actually work gloves and safety goggles to deal with the heat and smoke. So not exactly the same, but you get the idea.


Our unique environment shaped the way that we thought about doing business. Living in Panama allowed us to source directly from origin and deal directly with producers. The consistent lack of electricity led us to roasting with repurposed waste wood. This yielded biochar (charcoal) at the end of roasting which was then utilized again on the on-site farm to help develop its soil fertility.  This is the sort of closed loop system that we strive to implement in all aspects of our business.

As our experiments continued, we improved upon our existing systems and developed a roaster that resembled a traditional drum roaster but powered with a hand-crank. We continued to use waste wood as our fuel, but design improvements have led us to a closed chamber system that reduced smoke while including a hand crank to turn the beans with ease. ​



- The Origins -

After his departure from Panama, Aaron returned to the states to focus on a slow process of growth and learning. Using iterative design, he implemented his experiences and learnings in Latin America to translate the origins of Curioso into way to provide coffee to his hometown community of Minneapolis.


After a couple years of refining the vision, idea, and brand, all the while gaining knowledge, experience, and selling beans to family and friends, Aaron met and got to know Luke through the local Minneapolis music scene and mutual friends. The two saw lots of similarities in the type of business they wanted to create and he joined on officially in 2020. With his addition, Curioso was pushed further forward with his extensive experience in both brewing and financial accounting.

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