> brio!

Vigor, Vivacity and Energy in action

The story of brio! starts with founders Miguel Cardona and Jose Nieves meeting the first day of third grade. The two, still strangers to the English language, bonded when teary-eyed Jose asked Miguel how to say “sharpener” in English.

The friendship continued into their adolescent years where Jose grew up as the oldest son in a horse farm in Ocala. His father used to use the word brio! a lot. He said we had to clean the stalls with brio!, we had to do everything in life with brio! To him, it’s the idea or philosophy that whatever you’re doing in life, big or small, you do it with passion, attention to detail, and love.

The word brio, which means vigor, vivacity and energy in action continued to resonate long after Jose left the farm, and close to a decade later became the perfect name and spirit for their cold brew coffee.

Besides providing a vigorous ready-to-drink coffee, Miguel and Jose set out to elevate the coffee experience and challenge industry standards through their cold brew coffee. Cold brew is a method.  Cold brew is a method of extraction that allows the brewer to pull out the natural notes of the coffee bean without tapping into the acidic oils that when over-extracted can result in a bitter taste and can cause heartburn or acid reflux. The lack of acidity, while good for digestive health, can result in duller flavor profiles.

brio! is counteracting that dullness in two ways. First, they found a variety of coffee that’s naturally bright and flavorful. The coffee is a Typica variety with natural notes of pomegranate, cranberry, blackberry, and lemongrass. It tastes a little like iced tea! Next, they roast and bottle faster than the competition! After a bean is harvested, its inherent aromas and flavors begin to evaporate immediately, so the clock’s ticking.

brio! averages 21 days from harvest to bottle. This timeline, the variety of coffee bean, and the standards of quality throughout the process result in a bright, fruity cold brew that celebrates and highlights the nuances and complexities of the coffee while still enjoying the benefits of low acidity.

After developing the brew and brand for close to two years, brio! hit the market April of 2018. After four months, they established 60 retail partners in the Gainesville area, and less than a year later went statewide with Whole Foods. In this time they have also won two startup competitions. “Our small success so far can be attributed to being passionate and relentless about this process. We don’t cut corners and we’re confident in our product.” Miguel and Jose are big believers in demoing and allowing potential customers to try and learn about their product. The pair can often be found sampling their elixir at local markets and now at Whole Foods throughout Florida, spreading the spirit of brio! and promoting self-empowerment through their catchphrase, “Wake Up! The World Needs You.

Miguel Cardona—UF Architecture & Design

Miguel is our team’s eyes and leads brio!’s visual development. He brings his background in design to complete brio!’s invigorating identity through graphic design, photography, and web development. He  enjoys film photography, talking to strangers, and tinkering on his old motorcycle.

Jose Nieves—Culinary Institute of America

Jose is our team’s taste buds. He leads our team’s constant effort to make brio! taste like … brio! He brought his culinary and hospitality experience from NYC to Gainesville to help developthe brio! recipe. He enjoys weekly coffee cuppings, perfecting the French omelet, and practicing yoga.


Gainesville, FL

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