Coava Coffee: From Bean to Cup - Portland-Based Small Business

As a veteran barista and coffee roaster, Matt Higgins, had always dreamed of starting his own coffee company. Not just any coffee company, but one that truly celebrates coffee. One where he could roast and prepare drinks to delight habitual coffee drinkers, and create excitement for experienced baristas. So in 2008, Matt started Coava Coffee in his Portland garage, bootstrapping the business by repairing motorcycles.

From the very beginning, Matt knew that in order for his dream to be a success, his business needed a firm foundation, it needed to start at the roots -- sourcing high quality coffee.

So the work began. Matt put in countless hours, learning all he could about coffee. Studying agriculture, farming processes, and sustainable business methods. As he learned the ways to sustainably source high quality coffee, he began searching for coffee farmers who were committed to producing premium crops.

These early years were pivotal, Matt’s diligence and hard work earned him a good reputation among the coffee farmers, one of respect and honesty. This laid the foundation for the strong partnerships Coava has today with its coffee partners.

That was the beginning, but the promise to source high quality coffee continues today. It all begins at the origin. Excellent roasted coffee, begins with an excellent green coffee, ‘coava’.

Before selecting a producer, Coava performs a farm agronomy audit, where they assess the soil and coffee bean production of the farm. From the results, they determine if the farm can produce the quality of coffee they need, year after year. This process is critical. Coava, prides itself on building strong relationships with its producers, the farm agronomy test is the base for their partnerships.

When the coffee cherries begin to ripen, and it comes time to harvest, Coava ensures that each coffee is hand selected, choosing only ripe coffee cherries. This is essential for well developed coffee, as ripe coffee cherries have natural sugars in them producing sweet and complex flavor profiles when roasted.

As the coffee beans embark on their journey to Coava’s roasting facility, they pass through 10 quality gate checks, to ensure the color, density, and size of the cherry meet Coava’s standard.  

When it reaches the roasting plant, Coava follows a routine and meticulous process, to maintain its high standard for roasting. Emphasizing the importance of consistency between every batch, their roasters are masters of their craft and use the highest quality roasting equipment.

One of the secrets to their roasting profile, is the aftermarket additions they add, in house, to their roasting drums. These adjustments allow them to maintain their high level of consistency and quality for all their roasts. Through the entire roasting process, Coava focuses on developing the bean from the inside out, to ensure the full flavor of the bean is extracted.

Coava is coffee. Their care for their producers, processes, and customers, sets them apart from their competitors. Their care for their producers has built strong lasting relationships. Their processes bring out the bold flavors in their coffee, and their care for their customers has created a community of Coava lovers.