From Colombia to Windsor, an immigrant couple takes on Tim Hortons as they pursue the Canadian dream…

David Menzies speaks with Wilmer Hernandez and Caterine Arboleda, the co-founders of the Windsor-based coffee truck, Montañeros Coffee.

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At first glance, we thought our eyes were deceiving us. For there it was, a stationary coffee truck, sharing the same parking lot as a Tim Hortons franchise, barely a football field away.

That struck us as the foodservice version of David vs. Goliath. Thus, with our curiosity aroused — and in need of a good cup of Joe — we approached this café on wheels and struck up a conversation with the co-founders, Wilmer Hernandez and Caterine Arboleda.

Turns out this couple moved to Windsor, Ont., a few years ago from their native land of Colombia in pursuit of a better life. Being from Colombia, Wilmer and Caterine know a thing or three about making a good cup of coffee. And so it was they decided to get into the coffee business. To keep costs low, instead of leasing a standalone restaurant, they decided to serve up gourmet coffee from a trailer (Wilmer notes their monthly rent for the parking spot is only $100). Unsurprisingly, the coffee beans are sourced directly from a family farm in their homeland — and it is very good java indeed.

They say by keeping costs low and serving up a quality product that keeps regular customers coming back for more every day, their company, Montañeros (slogan: “The mountain’s magic in a cup”), is a success in what is one of the toughest businesses on the planet.

As for going head-to-head with coffee leviathan Tim Hortons just a stone’s throw away, Caterine is nonchalant, noting Tim Hortons coffee is for people who are in a rush, as opposed to those who like to savour a good cup of gourmet coffee.

So it is that for residents of Windsor and for those simply passing through the city, if you are in search of superb coffee (and are perhaps still boycotting Tim Hortons due to their draconian summer camp COVID-19 vaccine provisions), well then, you now have a viable alternative.

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