FLEAKIN' OUT WITH CORVUS COFFEE
For Phil Goodlaxson, founder of Corvus Coffee, business was born from hobby: he began with home-roasting, and was advised by a friend to go to Norway to find inspiration. Imbued with the Norwegian sense of coffee culture, he bought a roaster, began selling at local farmers markets, then opened a brick-and-mortar brew haven on South Broadway. The rest is history—now, Corvus roasts in small batches, working with single-estate and privately owned coffee farms while encouraging farmers to produce sustainable, high-quality coffee.
Words by Sam Alviani
What does corvus mean to you?
Corvus Coffee is the means to make a living while constantly creating things. Coffee is always changing and is very seasonal, so it’s really enjoyable to have a constantly changing platform of products to be refining, branding, and talking to customers about. The supply chain for coffee is closely connected to people and developing agricultural areas of the world, so it’s also a really great business to maintain a healthy appreciation and perspective on the humans we share this world with. That’s always been important and interesting to me.
QUICK FACT #1
Specializing in rare micro-lots and direct trade.
QUICK FACT #2
Cold-brewed coffee innovators.
QUICK FACT #3
Unique, seasonal coffee menus.
WHY COFFEE? WHAT WAS your first inspiration to start a coffee-driven company?
It’s a craft; which to me means never learning to do it perfectly. That prevents me from getting bored. I’ve always had a really good sense of smell and taste, so the first time I came across specialty coffee it was pretty impactful from a flavor standpoint. And lastly, when you’re working in specialty coffee, every cup is impactful to someone’s livelihood and sense of worth in the world somewhere. Especially the upper levels of quality in specialty coffee. There’s nothing as moving as visiting a farm and telling the farmers that not only can you pay a lot more for the coffee than they are used to, but that the quality level they’ve been working to achieve means something on a deep level to you. That affirmation is powerful and visible.
HOW HAS CORVUS EVOLVED SINCE STARTING?
We’ve grown a lot, which is fun. We’re vertically integrated, and have horizontal businesses in the industry. We’ve also taken on cold-brewed coffee, and it's an exciting industry movement to brew and bottle cold-brewed coffees. Overall, we’ve focused and refined our main objectives to be continually sourcing really amazing coffees and working to improve quality at origin; we've created some really fun branding to support this effort.
WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY?
Every day is pretty fun. The best part of my week is cupping with the production crew. We taste and evaluate our roasts from the previous week, and taste samples from different farms around the world. It’s part of the Kaizen of Corvus—constantly improving the coffees we have, and constantly looking for really good coffees to add to our lineup.
TELL US HOW YOU SOURCE YOUR COFFEE.
It’s a process of networking. Traveling and meeting farmers often leads to other meetings if you’re making a conscious effort to meet people and network. We've met farmers at other farms they were visiting, farmers we’ve met at trade shows, farmers we’ve met just by making introductions via phone or email. The best coffees are always from people who persevere, and so the core of our sourcing philosophy is looking for people who demonstrate the “Makers Mindset.” Those folks who will always find a way to grow and process exceptional coffee; it’s the search for the best in the human spirit.