Situated between the coffee meccas of Seattle and Portland, Oregon, the new home of Keebler Coffee Roasters is trying to build new byways through which customers can engage with high-quality specialty coffee in Longview, Washington.
“Seeing the need for a shop adhering to current roasting and brewing standards, we decided to focus on providing locally roasted, sustainably sourced coffee at markets and pop-ups,” Keebler Coffee Roasters Co-Owner Matt Keebler told DCN. “Later, an opportunity arose to set up a brick-and-mortar location that could serve as our primary roasting area, with a cafe to showcase our coffees.”
Earlier this summer, Keebler Coffee Roasters held the grand opening for the coffee shop inside the former Hearth Coffee location that closed this past spring after citing pandemic difficulties.
The opening represents the first full-time entrepreneurial endeavor for Keebler and his wife, co-founder Amy Keene-Keebler.
Matt Keebler now oversees production using a 1.5-kilo Proaster machine in the back of the shop, while Keene-Keebler is managing much of the front of the house, using her past nonprofit coordination and event-management experience to host coffee tasting and community events.
“The coffee scene in our area is heavily drive-though, sugary, caffeinated beverages, including lots of energy drink mixers and dark-roasted coffee,” said Keebler, noting that the company hopes to provide a quality-focused counterpoint through education, samples and tastings.
Green coffees thus far have come largely from small-volume expert Coffee Shrub, while Keebler is currently engaged with numerous importers such as Catalyst Trade, Onyx Coffee and Shared Source for potential future offerings.
“For sourcing coffee, I am looking for quality, specialty grade coffee that is traceable from the farm,” said Keebler. “I personally am a huge fan of East African coffees, but I am trying to provide a wide range of different coffees to help educate our local community about tasting profiles.”
In monthly public tasting events, the company attempts to put forward three different single-origin roasted coffees with distinct flavor profiles and cup attributes, including one well-rounded medium-bodied brew, one full-bodied and earthy brew, and one fruit-forward brew.
“My advice to someone in a similar position would be to have patience with your customer base,” said Keebler. “If they don’t already have a taste for specialty coffee, it will take time, and finding good ‘stepping stone’ coffees that are moderate with some slightly interesting tasting notes has helped a lot.”