Rising Star Roaster César Vega of Café Integral - Biography

New York, NY

January 2017

Born in Nicaragua, César Vega has been in tune with coffee since childhood. He grew up Miami’s Little Managua and made his way up the coast to study photography at New York University. As Vega studied and worked as a photographer, his passion for coff ee grew from a side hobby to a full-fl edged career calling. In 2012, Vega stepped away from his studio job to pursue coffee (made solely from Nicaraguan beans) full time. In a short span, he went from delivering roasted coffee from Washington Heights on his bike to running a counter-space inside a Soho boutique, and then earning a notice from The New York Times, who cited his Café Integral as a premier coffee destination. In 2014, he was profiled in Nicaragua’s most-read dailies, La Prensa de Nicaragua and La Estrella. In 2015, he was named to Zagat’s “30 Under 30” list of the most promising young culinary professionals.

A licensed Q Grader by the Coffee Quality Institute, Vega has served on the jury for the Cup of Excellence competition. Also in 2015, Vega partnered with Freehand Hotels to bring Café Integral to Chicago and Miami Beach (and soon to their Los Angeles location). Café Integral opened its first full-scale spot in New York’s Nolita in 2016, cementing Vega’s role as the chief authority on Nicaraguan coffee in the United States and ushering small, quality-driven Nicaraguan growers toward greater quality and a more sustainable future.