Tampa-based private equity firm ProspEquity Partners has purchased a majority stake in Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa, LLC.
Founded in 2009, Tierra Nueva produces Coffee Thins, Coffee Squares, Coffee Spreads and coffee-ingredient products. The company employs more than 80 people at its 42,000-sq.-ft. facility in Miami, Fla. Originally focused on chocolate manufacturing, packaging and distribution, Tierra Nueva developed proprietary technology to pivot to coffee in 2012.
ProspEquity CEO and Managing Partner Christopher Ramonetti said the transaction marries the firm’s operational executive expertise and network of strategic partners with Tierra Nueva’s industry-leading coffee product development team, allowing Tierra Nueva to scale its worldwide market penetration.
Beginning with a history in chocolate manufacturing and coffee distribution, Tierra Nueva has expanded into whole-bean coffee processing, resulting in a concentrate that uses 100 percent of the coffee bean.
“This unique, robustly flavorful and 12-plus-month shelf-stable concentrate can be used as a branded ingredient for a variety of large scale applications, including frozen desserts, bakery, confectionery and ready-to-drink products,” Ramonetti said. “Tierra Nueva’s initial high quality, edible coffee products sold at stores like Fresh Market, 7-Eleven and Wawa, are exceedingly well received in the marketplace.
“Whole bean means the environmentally-friendly process can reduce coffee raw material costs by more than 30 percent and creates significantly less waste – results unprecedented in the coffee industry.”
With its manufacturing and distribution process, Ramonetti said Tierra Nueva has the potential to immediately disrupt the growing $74-billion global coffee market.
“Tierra Nueva has also already successfully done something rarely seen in the consumer packaged goods space – they have created a whole new product category,” he said. “This is beyond exciting with enormous potential. No other company in the world has created an edible coffee product category like this, especially one that is environmentally responsible and has true global potential. The minute we visited their test kitchen and experienced their product, we were overwhelmed with the potential with their amazing flavor and unlimited applications.”
Victor Henriquez, Tierra Nueva chairman and shareholder, said he and the Tierra Nueva team “couldn’t be happier” about the partnership with ProspEquity partners.
“Over the past year, ProspEquity Partners has proven to us they have the talent, experience, vision, financial and management acumen, and the access and connections to help Tierra Nueva revolutionize the traditional brewed coffee technology industry and become the global leader in whole bean technology,” he said. “We’re teaming up with them to make that happen.”