Kazwel Levandoski didn’t grow up with a taste for coffee.
Now, he and his wife Kaylie can’t get enough of java. They began roasting their own coffee in the basement of their Transcona home in recent months, and eventually began selling their fresh-roasted beans in January as K2 Coffee.
"I was not a coffee person at all," said Levandoski, who is also a sales manager for The ECO Edge, a company that sells chemical-free cloths and fruit snacks. "I thoroughly disliked coffee, actually, but I always liked the concept of coffee.
"We started buying coffee in the house here, and then we thought there had to be better coffee. We realized that we were paying between $15 and $20 a pound."
The Levandoskis then discovered they could roast their own beans with an air popper, and then began working with different beans and new flavours after soaking up as much information as they could by reading articles, watching tutorials on YouTube, and communicating with other hobbyists on chat forums.
After learning they enjoyed the process, they invested in a roaster to cut the roasting and cooling time to a little over 30 minutes, and after a little marketing, found it was worth purchasing a second machine.
"It was a hobby business, we said we would start with the main goal of funding our kids’ private education, and it’s turning into being something a little bit more than that," said Kazwel. "Most people that bought our coffee have never tried a gourmet coffee, period, and those that did didn’t think much of it.
"But no one that’s bought off us yet has bought fresh-roasted coffee. . . It comes off the roaster into the bag and pretty much right into your hand."
The Levandoskis currently purchase beans from a local importer, but are looking to connect directly with farmers, having visited one during a recent trip to Costa Rica. Kazwel said beans have different qualities from farm to farm.
"You start to notice the characteristics of the farm can really stand out," he said. "When we get new beans – we’re hopefully getting a couple new beans this week – the first thing we do is roast them.
"We’ve got to roast for ourselves, try it out. (We) play with the different levels and roast times before we start selling it, because they’re all different."
Those interested in ordering coffee can check out the site at http://www.facebook.com/k2coffeebeans or by calling 204-996-3286. The Levandoskis will appear at a local farmers market this summer, and will also appear at a couple of vendor shows across the province.
"We started in January just so we wouldn’t have to keep repeating to all our family and friends," said Kaylie. "This is what we have, and if you’d like it, that’s great."
Kazwel has dreams of opening a shop one day, noting there is a void of coffee shops in the neighbourhood to be filled.