Founded in 2008, amongst the motorcycles in Matt Higgins' garage, Coava Coffee has grown into one of Portland's most prominent coffee roasters. To "begin with the bean", Higgins built his roasting business around close working partnerships with individual farms. He visits the same producers year after year, reinvesting in their agriculture and watching the coffee beans evolve. After all, what's a better way to ensure top-quality beans than rolling up your sleeves and getting involved? According to Higgins, it's a labor of "time, work, honesty, and preparation"...and, of course, a healthy amount of love.
Out of this philosophy comes the name "Coava": it means "unroasted". The message? That Coava is more than a coffee roaster: the actual roasting represents the final chapter of an entire relationship with the potential of the humble, yet-to-be-roasted bean.
Since so much time and effort is put into the relationships behind the beans, Coava's roasting philosophy is to do those beans justice, and roast to accentuate each bean's individuality. To that end, they roast all of their beans two ways: one style for drip, another for espresso. It's a fun exercise to compare the same beans roasted two different ways: it makes you wonder what artistry, and what sacrifice, roasters have to manage when they determine the ideal roast profile of a bean.
Beyond a local reputation for the quality and flavor of their coffees, Coava became the national representative of Portland Coffee when Jerry Seinfeld featured their cafe in his show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. What did Seinfeld think of Coava coffee? "It's a reason to live here," he quipped. Well, it's gotta be an improvement on the NYC diner coffee from his sitcom days, no doubt...