We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Higgins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Coava began roasting with a focus on single origin, specialty coffees back in 2008. Our mission is to source, roast, and brew truly exceptional coffees that both baristas and everyday coffee drinkers will love. Yet as much as our story is about coffee, it’s really about people first and foremost. Coava is committed to long term, sustainable partnerships with coffee producers. We’ve worked closely with a small group of truly excellent producers for over a decade, and we are absolutely invested in their success. We’ve helped to build new drying beds, improve living conditions, and provide the financial means to help farmers purchase new equipment and make farm level investments. We believe in direct trade, fair prices, and paying a premium for quality. Another critical component of our success is our team. We believe that an inclusive workplace is the only way to achieve a healthy, vibrant, and highly productive team. Every member of our family of 50 was chosen because they are absolutely awesome at what they do. 11 of our more senior team members started as Coava baristas who worked their way up into roles as senior managers, team leaders, trainers, coffee buyers, and coffee roasters. We believe in investing in, and cultivating the individual talent that makes up the strong and passionate team that is Coava.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Coava began in Matt Higgins North Portland garage in 2008. The veteran barista and roaster bootstrapped the company by repairing motorcycles. Having spent years in specialty coffee, Matt dreamed of starting his own company where he could roast and prepare coffees that would be exciting for professional baristas and inviting to everyday drinkers. Matt knew that in order to accomplish this goal, sourcing exceptional “coava” would have to be the bedrock upon which his entire company was built. So he studied agriculture, farm practices, and sustainable business. He sought farmers who were committed to producing quality crops, and focused his attention on under-sourced regions. His hard work and willingness to go above and beyond eventually earned him a reputation among coffee producers as a respectful, diligent, and honest person. Those early years were difficult, but exciting, and laid the foundation for many of the longstanding partnerships Coava has with farmers to this day.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shout out is to my TEAM– the baristas, the roasters, trainers, production team, sales, and support teams! We are 50 diverse, tremendously talented, incredible humans who just so happen to also love coffee. Many of you have been with us since the early days, setting about what has been the most incredible journey. All of you have shared your wisdom, your grit, your endless creativity, your love of hospitality and serving others, and best of all, helped to shape our company culture and DNA with your humbled awe and appreciation of this beautiful craft we are so lucky to share with the world.