Hello, my name is Cristian Quintanilla. I was born in El Salvador, and raised there until I was 10 years old, by my grandparents, aunts and uncles. My mother was forced to leave El Salvador when she was 18, due to the civil war going on in the country. She had to come to the United States, leaving me behind at the age of 1. It was not until I was 10 years old that my mother was able to bring me to the US to live with her, my step-father and sister. I have been living in Los Angeles ever since.
I take a lot of pride in my Salvadoran roots. As a kid, growing up in El Salvador, during a time when the internet or cell phones did not yet exist, I enjoyed reading encyclopedias to learn about other countries around the world. One of the things I learned from an encyclopedia is that El Salvador was once one of the top coffee producing countries in the world. As an adult living in Los Angeles, reminiscing about my childhood in El Salvador, I remembered that piece of information and decided to search for some good Salvadoran coffee. Much to my disappointment, I was not able to find any. I decided I would have to do something about that at some point in my life.
Fast forward a few years to 2015/16 while I was going through my MBA program at Pepperdine University, the idea of creating a Salvadoran brand of gourmet coffee kept popping into my head while I worked on projects that taught me how to operate a business efficiently.
After grad school, I was working in corporate finance for a Fortune 500 company, but I found that I was not happy and did not want to continue following that path. I was able to raise enough capital to help me get the business started and in February of 2018, I quit my job and launched myself into the deep end of entrepreneurship.
Once I quit my corporate job, I spent months in El Salvador searching for the right coffee that I would use to represent my birth country. Some of the major requirements were: low acidity, enchanting aroma, smooth body, well balanced flavor, and grown at high elevation.
Processed at the source; Don Leo coffee is the first 100% Salvadoran brand of gourmet coffee in the US. It is grown, processed, roasted, ground and packaged by the farmers in El Salvador.
I named the brand after my grandfather, whom everyone used to call Don Leo when he was alive, you can read more about him on his bio page on this site.
You can now order Don Leo coffee through this website, and I am working on finding other distribution channels for my coffee, such as grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops.