Meet the Vendor – Karen Blankenzee – Rosso Specialty Coffee
3801 Avalon Park E Blvd #140
Orlando, FL 32828
Past Places of Work
Cathay Pacific in Seoul Office, Seoul Foreign Investment Help Center
What Awards have you won?
No awards yet…regarding coffee
I moved to Orlando (actually to the states) in 2010 from Auckland, New Zealand where I’d left half of my heart. Even in my wildest dream I never thought I’d live in the USA and starting my own business. When life decides to put some spins in your life, I guess you have no choice but get on the dance floor. in 2011 without any logical explanations one of my friends in Korea suggested me to spend some time in his coffee roasting lab and that’s when I found my underlined passions in coffee. I started to learn how to roast and went through many other courses regarding coffee eventually I even obtained a certificate to become a coffee taster in the same year. Many years later in 2018 I set up my own coffee roastery in Longwood and now I’m just about to see my own coffee bar opened to public in downtown Avalon Park. I’m not going to say that my journey has been an easy-ride but I’ll keep on kicking until we establish a scholarship foundation to help bright young kids for their education.
What’s Your First Memory of your love for cooking?
I grow up in my mother’s kitchen so my sense for smell was always excellent which became the basic but critical ability when I was going through coffee courses. This is an embarrassing part of my life but I never had to cooked until in my early 30s however once I started to I dove deep. I leant how to bake (oven is not necessity in Korean culinary) and became obsessed with Jamie Oliver (a British chef) needless to say I own all of his published cook books and love to try his cooking technics. I used to do a lot of entertaining at our house of course that was before I started business.
Where were you trained?
Roasting coffee: Ediya coffee roasting lab in Korea, Diedrich roasters (4 days training)
What is your favorite dish to create?
My favorite way to brew coffee is pour-over method, I like it a lot simply because I have more controls in preparing my coffee also it’s easier to apply different variables. For example, if I want to have stronger coffee, I add more ground coffee or use lesser water. Simple as that.
What is your favorite dish to eat?
Without any additives I like to have single origin coffees black. I think that’s the only way I can appreciate unique flavors that each coffee offers. Don’t get me wrong, I love espresso base drinks as well. Who wouldn’t want a cappuccino or café latte comes with a beautiful floating heat? Anytime a day I’d take it.
What 4 ingredients are necessary in your kitchen?
Coffee, Water….different kinds of milk.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My husband still supports me the most but I also have many friends who support me. I feel blessed to be part of East Orlando Chamber of Commerce as they really try hard to help me and my business and met amazing members.
Why did you choose Marketplace at Avalon Park?
By one of my customers’ recommendation one day I went to visit downtown Avalon Park, and I found very little competition in coffee. I thought this was perfect opportunity for me so I quickly moved to the south village in Avalon Park and been preparing for the opening of marketplace. I love the neighborhood because it’s very quiet and quaint yet not too far from downtown Orlando.
Are there any foods that you don’t like?
I love coffee so much so I can even drink instant coffee but my taste buds don’t tolerate drinks that are made with dark burn coffee beans loaded with syrups and whipped creams. I’m fine with add a little bit of sweetener and milk to enhance the flavors in a drink but not so much to mask something unpleasant and to make it drinkable.
What is your favorite kitchen equipment or gadget?
My favorite equipment is a Kalita pour-over set. Of course a good burr grinder is must have item.
What is your most memorable time in the kitchen?
I do get customers who look us up online and visit my warehouse where I roast coffee every now and then. Most of time I offer complimentary pour-over coffee, after the first sip I could see they are thinking then told me that “This coffee I can drink black but I don’t drink black coffee.” In my humble opinion that’s how we supposed to take coffee. Such reward for me when customers give me 2 thumbs up and I’m the happiest person on the earth.