Happy Santa's White Christmas Day! Learn how the Coconutty, Caramel, and Vanilla flavor was created and who was behind the idea.

It’s National Santa’s White Christmas Day and we’re celebrating by introducing you to the coffee expert who came up with the flavor phenomenon. Today, Anne Valdez, celebrates 28 years of serving the Winter Park community and beyond with the Santa’s White Christmas Coffee from Barnie’s Coffee.

Anne Valdez shares her story to Barnie’s Coffee fans on how she came up with the flavor combination that became a phenomenon for Barnie’s Coffee with their famous flavor of Santa’s White Christmas.

Anne Valdez is a world-renowned expert in the field of coffee with more than 28+ years of experience. Her coffee knowledge includes the entire life cycle of coffee from the barista, green buyer, roaster, product development, training, merchandising, and marketing including product selection of complimentary products, supplies, and equipment. One in particular she served as an elf in Santa’s little workshop in 1995 with Barnie’s Santa’s White Christmas.

Anne’s experiences have led her to an extensive network of professional long-term relationships in the coffee industry. She has participated as an international cupping judge for Cup of Excellence and The Best of Panama, a regional barista judge, an espresso training station instructor, and a craft roasting station instructor. 

She’s traveled all over the world to origins including Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Anne Valdez visits a coffee farm in Burundi, one of her many travels over the years in the coffee industry.

As we spoke to Anne further about her background, it became very clear that she has a love for coffee and she truly is an artist and an expert in her craft. 

Brewed 10.4 million cups alone in 2023, Santa’s White Christmas Coffee has become a year-round favorite. We asked her politely because Barnie’s Coffee knows raving fans want to know, but how did she actually come up with the Santa’s White Christmas combination of flavors.  

Beginning Summer of 1995 while working in Barnie’s Coffee quality control and product development lab Anne said "You know what, we should try another Holiday Blend for Barnie’s this year.”

After seeing the success of her first flavor, Traditional Holiday, in the past year she wanted to try another flavor. This time she wanted to try a flavor with nut or caramel notes that seem to be fan favorites from the previous years with Barnie’s Coffee.

At the time Anne mentioned this uniqueness to Phil that no one was actually roasting or producing a Christmas Coffee Blend. He decided to look into what she was saying. Phil ‘Barnie’ Jones sets out to look for this type of coffee throughout the United States as research. The only coffee at that time being produced was a coffee with no flavor included, but some sort of white powdered sugar on top to represent a Christmas-type snow. 

Anne worked with Barnie’s Traditional Holiday Coffee to bring you the “Smell of Christmas” with the cinnamon and amaretto notes. Now she challenged herself on how she can bring you a ‘White Christmas’?

How did you come up with Coconut, Vanilla and Caramel as the final combination of flavors? Why is it Coconut flavored? Did you choose Coconuts because Barnie’s hometown is Florida and palm trees?
Anne says she tinkered with a few different versions, tried various types of nuts, mixed in some vanilla flavoring. She says she chose Coconut because of the nut flavor, not because of its representation to the state, but because it worked out well for the coffee flavors together. She tried a few more recipes with the caramel, which also seemed to be a popular component of other flavored coffees sold at the time for Barnie’s, and then she created exactly what she hoped for - a taste of cozy and warmth of a White Christmas from Santa himself. 

When did YOU yourself know that Santa’s White Christmas was a phenomenon and what Barnie’s Coffee is known for still today in 2023? And then to that same thought…Would you say Barnie’s Coffee innovated America’s Favorite Christmas Coffee?
Anne says she forecast the product sales to be similar to Traditional Holiday with maybe a little more of a desire based on the flavors themselves. She forecast a little more and then when she did the numbers realized she was way off. Barnie’s Santa’s White Christmas Coffee had immediately blown through the forecast and all stores were SOLD OUT. At the time they were roasting 24/7 and just couldn’t keep up. Every week we were seeing orders more and more! The numbers were increasing exponentially, too, so I knew we created something BIG. An ice storm happened that same year, and deliveries could not be made. It wasn’t until that following year in 1996 when we truly realized Barnie’s Santa’s White Christmas Coffee is America’s Favorite Christmas Coffee. 

Anne Valdez at an International Coffee Cupping as she continues her knowledge in the coffee industry.

Do you still work with Barnie’s Coffee?
Yes, we just collaborated and opened a cafe with UCF in 2023 on three different coffees sold at their UCF Hitt Library on campus, but also online at barniescoffee.com. These three coffees were created solely for the school and each bag purchased, $1 goes back to their Food Insecurity Program at UCF. Being a UCF alumni, this meant a lot to me to create something that makes a difference. I was also part of Barnie’s Coffee collaboration with Se7en Bites. Their chef Trina Gregory wanted a diner-style coffee so we collaborated and I came up with options for her to taste and then we chose one that she sells at her Se7en Bites Restaurant and they sell online at barniescoffee.com

What can we expect in 2024 from you and your flavor expertise?
I work for Barnie’s Coffee as a consultant and have been told there’s lots of plans ahead and collaborations to be had. I’m looking forward to bringing back some flavors that I know the fans love from the Barnie’s Coffee Vault, but also I’m looking forward to telling the story of each new flavor Barnie’s Coffee comes up with. I know they have lots of plans in 2024, and I’m happy to be a part of it after all these years.

For more information on Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co., flavored coffees and teas, café locations, and online ordering, visit barniescoffee.com.

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