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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Generations of history at Tavo Coffee Co.

Bridget Bristow

The menu at the new Tavo Coffee Co. storefront on Main St in Downtown Bryan, Texas on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct date and spelling errors.
Coffee beans from a family farm in the mountains of Chimaltenango, Guatemala are transported over 1,600 miles to Tavo Coffee Co to Downtown Bryan. A community quickly arose as co-owners Cathy and Gustavo Román, Class of 2016 and 2017, respectively, began teaching customers coffee brewing methods in their coffee shop using Gustavo’s family-grown beans.
The Románs, who got married in 2018, opened Tavo in October of 2021 after five months of being a coffee cart, Gustavo said. Their shop in Downtown Bryan is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, according to their Instagram.
Coffee production spans back five generations in Gustavo’s family, with him being the first to open an actual shop, he said. The Románs said they prioritize “origin trips” to the Guatemalan farm, where their employees see the harvest for themselves. Barista and computer science senior Jaka Tanugraha went on the most recent trip over spring break.
“The trip was amazing, maybe one of the best trips I’ve ever taken in my life,” Tanugraha said. “They’re growing different varietals on the farm right now, so it’s cool to see that development.”
Gustavo’s uncle, Jorge Del Carmen, currently runs the family farm, which produces Xejuyu coffee beans, graded as excellent by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, according to Tavo’s website.
“They got to meet the farmers,” Gustavo said. “They got to see the coffee on the plant get picked and processed all the way through. That’s something we’ve wanted to do from the very beginning.”
The shop’s logo is a hang glider as a tribute to Gustavo’s late grandfather, Juan Del Carmen, who passed away in 2010, Gustavo said.
“He was a pilot,” Gustavo said. “He was the one who had the farm in his hands for 30 years. The farm was his, [and] a lot of the plants grown are the plants that he planted himself.”
In addition to serving high-quality beans, Cathy said she makes homemade seasonal syrups.
“Right now we’re experimenting with honey sage fig, brown butter peach and violet ube,” Cathy said. “Our goal is for it to not be so sugary, and also to have fresh ingredients and raw cane sugar.”
Tavo offers a variety of espresso drinks and pourovers in store, according to their website. In addition to using Xejuyu beans from their family farm, Tanugraha said they also rotate different roasts through a bottomless subscription. A bag of beans is placed on a scale and automatically re-orders another as soon as you’re running low, according to Bottomless’ website.
“We’re really proud of our return rate of customers,” Gustavo said. “For most coffee shops nationwide, I think the average is somewhere between 5 and 15% of customers become regulars. Ours is anywhere from 40 to 50%, which is incredible.”
On top of the community built from regulars, Gustavo started Tavo’s running club, which recently partnered with Lululemon as an ambassador. They run Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Thursdays at 7 a.m., and Cathy said anyone is welcome to join.
“I’m the [Bryan-College Station] area’s only certified running coach,” Gustavo said. “We met a couple of our closest friends from the run club itself. Sometimes we’ll get just a handful, and sometimes we’ll have 40 people show up out of nowhere.”
To create a local feel within the shop, the Románs sell plants from Grow ‘Em Plant Co. and artwork from Bryan Contemporary Artists.
“The whole point of having the art and the plants was to keep the shop fresh,” Gustavo said. “Every time you walk in here is a novel experience, it’s never boring.”
Cathy said they welcome pop-up vendors on Saturday mornings, and Tavo is planning a large artisan market at the shop on Earth Day, April 22. Nostalgia Novelties thrift store and PIPER-jade permanent jewelry will be a few of the vendors there, she said.
“I am very thankful and I get to do what I love to do everyday, so this is a dream come true,” Cathy said. “It’s hard work, but you can do it.”

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About the Contributor
Anna Deardorff
Anna Deardorff, Special Sections Editor
Anna is a communication senior from Frisco, minoring in journalism. Anna is the Special Sections Editor of Maroon Life Magazine for spring of 2024.
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