The Escobar TU Delft Coffee Bar

I’ve recently received a number of messages from Colombian students of the TU Delft. They are not amused that an institution which has a considerable number of international students is insensitive enough to allow the opening of a cafe named after the mass murderer and drug lord Pablo Escobar.


Here’s a message I received from a Colombian student of TU Delft


“Firstly,  I would like to point out that Colombia is recognized internationally because of its high-quality coffee exports. The coffee industry is one of the most important industries in Colombia, due to the economic and social growth that it has given to the country for more than a century. The production, commercialization, and export of coffee throughout the years has involved millions of families, mainly from rural areas. Relating the work of these families and such an important product for Colombia which is coffee, to one of the most known narco-terrorists worldwide is degrading to the just, peaceful, and hard-working coffee farmers, It also strengthens the stigma that Colombians are trying to erase. Furthermore, exalting Pablo Escobar is an insult to the victims and families that suffered from his criminal enterprise.

TU Delft is one of the most renowned and top-ranked universities in the world. The international community in Delft is growing every year. It is surprising and disappointing that in such an institution an allusion to drug-trafficking, terrorism and violence goes unnoticed by its Board Members. By using this marketing strategy to obtain attention from potential customers and gain profit, Coffee ESCOBAR directly violates TU Delft´s Code of Ethics. In specific, the core value of respect where, citing the code, “…Respect implies that people are never treated merely as means towards the attainment of personal or organizational goals…”. Furthermore, as explained before, part of Latin American community is feeling insulted and humiliated.


Which brings me to the subject of today’s post, the Escobar TU Delft Coffee Bar.

Las cosas que hago por mis lectores!

What’s in a name? Why are people so sensitive?

For those of you that might be thinking “what’s the big deal” imagine the uproar if an expat opened a cafe in Friesland called:

S ustenance
I nternational
N utritious
T op

R efreshment
A dventurous
C uisine
I nnovative
S urprising
T asty

Or simply S.I.N.T.  R.A.C.I.S.T. The owner of the cafe would receive death threats. In fact, on the day the restaurant was planned to open, brave Frieslanders would probably block the highway to prevent the staff from reaching their destination.

Names are powerful because sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword. Here are some reactions to the Escobar TU Delft Coffee Bar.

People choosing to be offended

In the Netherlands, there’s a belief that people choose to be offended. Here are some examples.

TU Delft Cafe Escobar


Comment about the number of people killed by Pablo Escobar


I blame Netflix

Obviously, no one at the University can be held responsible for the selection of such an offensive name. Like the Shallow Man, they no doubt thoroughly enjoyed the Netflix series Narcos and it was fresh on their minds when opening a cafe on campus that would sell Colombian coffee.

SWOT Analysis for the Escobar Coffee bar

I’m sure a lot of thought went into the name, they probably even carried out a SWOT analysis


Cool name! Just like that guy in the Narcos series.


A lot of international students from Latin American countries might start complaining, but just like the people whining about Zwarte Piet, who cares?


If it’s a success we could open more throughout the Netherlands. If it really takes off we can open a cafe in Bogota.


Legal action from Netflix or members of the Escobar family. If it comes to that we can claim it was a misunderstanding and choose a name that’s less offensive, such as El Chapo.

Change the bloody name!

I fail to understand how the university allowed the cafe to open with such a name in the first place. That aside, what’s clear from the coffee bars Facebook page is that a lot of people find the naming of a cafe after a mass murderer to be offensive. I wonder why?

The cafe is on the TU Delft’s campus, therefore it’s their responsibility to get the cafe to change the name. I’m still amazed that not a single person in the Universities management team had the common sense and cultural empathy to realize that the name is plainly offensive.

No drug barons were hurt during the writing of this post.

Until next time: “Al diablo con tu tolerancia Holandesa”

pablo escobar

A young Pablo Escobar before he entered the coffee business