Local coffee roasters win awards and seek to give back through nonprofits
VANCOUVER — Matthew and Seidy Selivanow, owners of the local coffee roasting business Kafiex Roasters, bring a passion and drive for coffee to the products they produce.
From a small roasting machine in the back of Matthew’s parent’s café, Coffee Villa, the Selivanows produce fresh, award-winning coffee that is fair trade and certified organic.
When his parents opened Coffee Villa about seven years ago, Matthew said that he wanted to know what making and consuming truly fresh coffee was really like. He began researching ways to roast green coffee beans.
After acquiring green coffee beans, Matthew began experimenting with roasting coffee on a stove top in a frying pan. He then moved on to roasting using a simple air popped popcorn machine. While learning the basics of roasting coffee, Matthew said he “fell in love with the process.”
Matthew said he spent several years learning about coffee roasting processes and techniques in a self-taught environment. He then took classes from prominent coffee roasters to help him further improve his roasting abilities.
The Selivanows founded Kafiex Roasters two years ago, after purchasing a professional coffee roaster to further explore their passion.
In that time, the Selivanows have won several awards for their coffee. The Golden Bean Coffee Roasters Competition and Conference is a national competition for coffee roasters held every fall in Portland. Seidy said that they had only learned of the competition about a week before it was supposed to occur, but decided to enter their Three Amigos Espresso blend in the 2016 competition.
At that time, Seidy said that Kafiex had not been in business for a whole year, yet they took home a third place award for milk-based coffee with their entry. This past September, Matthew said that they again won third place in their category, even though Kafiex was competing in an even larger pool of competitors than before.
Producing award-winning coffee is not the only thing that the Selivanows do at Kafiex Roasters. They are also involved in nonprofit work as well. They said the main nonprofit they work with is Vancouver based Café Femenino.
According to Seidy, Café Femenino works with women coffee farmers and workers to empower them for success in a male dominated industry. She said that the organization works to not only equip women coffee farmers but to elevate them in third world country social structures.
Another nonprofit that Kafiex participates with is the Green World Campaign. According to Matthew, the coffee growing process has historically utilized clearcutting to remove trees and provide space for coffee farms.
Matthew said that at Kafiex, they wanted to help support reforestation efforts in coffee growing countries. As participants in the Green World Campaign, a portion of the profit from every bag of Kafiex coffee sold is donated to counter deforestation.
In addition to partnering with Café Femenino and the Green World Campaign, Kafiex partners with a third nonprofit on a rotating basis. Currently, the Selivanows have partnered with the local MustLuvBoxers Rescue for boxer dogs. As boxer owners themselves, the Selivanows decided to partner with the rescue.
“We have always believed in giving back to the community,” Seidy said.
In the kitchen of Coffee Villa, Matthew operates a small roasting machine that is a significant step up from the air popped popcorn maker or frying pan he began roasting with. He said that the company roasts about 100 to 200 pounds of coffee a week. The roasts are only conducted when an order is received, meaning that the coffee produced by Kafiex is always fresh.
For Matthew, working with coffee farmers through nonprofits is only part of his interaction with the farming process. When Matthew gets a new batch of green coffee beans, the first thing he does is roast it at different temperature settings and for different lengths of time, to find the flavors the farmer wanted to be present in the coffee.
“Our job is to highlight what the farmers did when we’re roasting coffee,” Matthew explained.
The Selivanows are currently in the process of finding a new facility from which to roast coffee.
“We didn’t think it was going to be our living,” Seidy said. “We’re outgrowing what we have, which is a good sign.”
Matthew said that they are looking for a new facility to house their operation and support larger coffee roasting equipment. He said that the facility must be affordable so that they can continue their nonprofit partnerships, but that it must be large enough to not only support coffee roasting itself but also support learning opportunities for the public to learn about farm to cup coffee processes.
“We believe in leaving this planet better than when we got here,” Matthew said.
He noted that coffee is the second-highest traded commodity globally, and that the Selivanows wanted to find ways to give back through that commodity.
As such, Matthew said that the company’s unofficial slogan is “thank you for indulging in a cause.”
More information about Kafiex Roasters is available online at http://www.kafiex.com/. Coffee Villa, home of Kafiex Roasters, is located at 13011 NE Fourth Plain Blvd., Vancouver WA 98682.