BEING AN ORIGINAL
BUFF® famously came into being because of one man and his passion for being outdoors as long as possible. When he couldn’t find what he needed to protect himself from the weather, Joan Rojas invented the first tubular, filling both a gap in the market and following his instinct to create something we have all grown to love. In his post-pro cycling career, BUFF® ambassador Christian Meier has followed a similar path, creating products that are born from his passions and building communities around them.
For me being original is all about being authentic to yourself and following your passions”
In the last few years, Christian has transitioned from cycling to trail running–his most recent race was the 100km at UTMB®, so training and racing are still very much part of his life. However, these days he is becoming almost as well known for his entrepreneurial skills as his athletic ones.
If you ask visitors to Girona where to get the best cup of coffee in town, it’s almost certain that they will direct you to Espresso Mafia or La Fabrica. Both businesses are owned by Christian and his wife Amber, whose complementary skills have worked in harmony to create not just places to eat and drink but places to gather and share the things that they love.
When Christian moved to Belgium from his native Canada at age 18 to begin his cycling career, it was also the start of his love affair with coffee. Still, it wasn’t until a trip to Portland, Oregon, that it developed into a full-blown passion.
I had no idea coffee could be that good, and that sort of blew my mind, so from then on, I was on a quest always to find the best wherever I went.”
From that passion, the next step was to roast his own beans and figure out the best blends and techniques; as anyone who has witnessed his sporting career knows, Christian never gives less than 100% to anything. Fortunately, Amber, Christian’s wife, had a background in hospitality, and the pair had first met in a cafe, so it seemed only logical to open one of their own. According to Christian, he’s the coffee master, but Amber is the powerhouse of the business. “None of it would be possible without my wife; she’s my true partner; between us, we have this long list of ideas, and we are always coming up with more.”
Being driven by passion rather than profit, his original goal was simply to make the best cup of coffee in Girona. Still, with a philosophy based on fair trade and sustainable agriculture, he is carrying on his family traditions in many ways. His family ran a restaurant that people traveled for miles to eat at, and his grandfather practiced organic farming, quietly influencing his community to work the land in sustainable ways. That blend of hard work, creativity, and authenticity runs deep in Christian, and the coffee lovers of Girona might have been the first lucky recipients. Still, they will certainly not be the last as this maverick spirit continues to pursue his passions.
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