After almost 30 years of traveling around the globe, Karen Blankenzee never in her wildest dreams imagined she would own a coffee roastery in Central Florida or be on the brink of opening a local coffee bar.
In 2010, Karen hung up her traveler’s hat after exploring four different continents and decided to settle down in Orlando, Florida. Merely one year later, Karen picked up again and accompanied her friend to Korea to spend time in his coffee roasting lab.
Throughout her time there, Karen learned three amazing things: how to expertly roast and brew coffee, that her mother’s cooking gifted her an excellent knack for identifying scents, and that she had an underlying passion for coffee.
After her training, she returned to the United States with her newfound love and a certificate that named her a professional coffee taster and opened Rosso Specialty Coffee roastery in Longwood, Florida. Now, Karen is moving her roastery to Marketplace at Avalon Park and turning it into her very first coffee bar.
“Avalon Park is the perfect opportunity to open up my first coffee bar because of the quaint neighborhood appeal, its proximity to downtown Orlando and lack of coffee establishments in the area,” Karen said.
Rosso Coffee Bar will serve locally roasted coffee in various choices of origins.
Some of her customer fan favorites include:
Nutty flavors along with chocolate and barley.
Nutty, chocolate, citrus, floral, and smooth with a broad flavor spectrum.
Chocolate and molasses flavors and a hint of syrup and lemon.
“In my humble opinion, we are supposed to drink coffee black,” Karen confidently stated.
She says the best way to enjoy coffee is to drink it without too much milk, sugar or syrup. Her favorite way to brew coffee is by utilizing the pour-over method with her Kalita pour-over set because it can control the amount of strength in your cup.
“With little to no additives, you can really appreciate the unique flavors that each coffee offers,” she said. “I’m fine with adding a little bit of sweetener and milk to enhance the flavors in a drink, but not so much to mask the pleasantry of the coffee.”
She is excited to bring her coffee creations to the Marketplace because she wants to share her passion and show people that there are many different ways of enjoying coffee.
“It is such a reward for me when customers give me two thumbs up when they take a sip of my coffee and tell me that ‘This coffee I can drink black, but I don’t drink black coffee.’ It makes me the happiest person on Earth.”
Karen attributes her success to the support of her husband, as well as the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce, who has helped her and her business thrive.