Juan Valdez and his story

Posted on Feb 28 2013 - 10:24am by Rico

Juan Valdez and his history express the notion that out of one extraordinary effort produces an extraordinary coffee. This character, truly represents the commitment and the philosophy of more than 563.000 families producing coffee in Colombia, and is  precisely standing due to his values which make it unique and authentic: hard work, authenticity, the transparency, commitment to his family, pride for what he does, his commitment to the community and the environment.

Those are values that are shared by millions of consumers in the entire world.

Juan Valdez is a famous, but also a fictional character who has appeared in advertisements for the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia since 1958, representing the Colombian coffee farmer.

The advertisements were designed by the Doyle Dane Bernbach ad agency, with the goal of distinguishing 100%-Colombian coffee from coffee blended with beans from other countries. He typically appears alongside his mule Conchita, carrying sacks of harvested coffee beans. He has become an icon for Colombia as well as coffee in general, and Juan Valdez’s iconic appearance is frequently mimicked or parodied in television and other media.

The Juan Valdez character is used as an ingredient brand, to specifically denote coffee beans that are only grown and harvested in Colombia. Part of the advertising campaign includes educating consumers about the merits of Colombian-grown and harvested coffee beans, “including how soil components, altitude, varieties and harvesting methods create good flavour.” The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia is entirely owned and controlled by Colombia’s coffee farmers, (cafeteros) which number over 500,000 people.

Carlos Sánchez (left) and Carlos Castañeda (right), who have portrayed Juan Valdez

Juan Valdez was initially portrayed by José F. Duval in both print advertisements and on television until 1969. José Duval died in 1993 at the age of 72.

Juan Valdez had been embodied by Carlos Sánchez since 1969 and voiced by Norman Rose. In 2006, Sánchez announced his retirement, and Carlos Castañeda, a grower from the town of Andes, Antioquia, was selected by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia as the new face of Juan Valdez.

Juan Valdez Coffee Shops
There are almost 200 Juan Valdez coffee shops in Colombia and  in other countries. Juan Valdez brand coffee is available in Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, Spain, and the United States at supermarkets and Juan Valdez coffee shops.

The name “Juan Valdez” is by no means unique, as both Juan and Valdez are common Hispanic names and there are possibly thousands of men with this name alive today (although the Valdez name is hardly known in the coffee growing regions of Colombia); this became relevant in a 2006 lawsuit over the phrase “Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee”.

The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia sued cartoonist Mike Peters, creator of Mother Goose & Grimm, for a cartoon talking about Juan Valdez and Colombian coffee. The lawsuit was filed in January 2009 for a minimum of $20 million.