Location: Portland, Ore.
Where to get it: Coava Brew Bar or Barista in Portland; select coffee shops nationwide including WTF Coffee Lab in New York City, Milstead & Co in Seattle, and Coffee Commissary in L.A.; online at coavacoffee.com
Roaster recommends: El Salvador Santa Sofia. It's described as "a true example of how great farmers make great coffees. Grown by the ever-impressive Pacas family, this coffee has delicate floral aromatics with a brown sugar sweetness that has made it a true coffee lovers' delight." It's great brewed with a French press, Chemex, or standard home coffee pot.
It's one of the country's most buzzed-about roasters, but Coava has made a name for itself by quietly setting out to build strong relationships with both its customers and its farming partners, sticking to a motto of "craft and hospitality." The roaster offers no blends, in the interest of honoring its producers, and it aggressively minimizes waste by closely tracking roast cycles and storing green coffees in a room equipped with custom preservation tools. Its coffees are sold in 250 gram bags to keep the beans from losing their freshness.
That attention to detail and the company's humility towards its partners (each label reads "humbly crafted in Portland, Oregon") has helped Coava source coffees that many small roasters might not be able to access, according to Matt Brown, Coava's director of wholesale. The experience doesn't come cheap for customers (a 250g bag-8.8oz-can easily run for $15), but these guys make it clear that the cost is worth it. Coava's proving that, in coffee, it pays to play nice.