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Kafiex Roasters co-founder places 8th at national barista competition; coffee fans can revel in her expertise

Seidy Selivanow will host multiple tastings at her Vancouver coffee lab this month

By Rachel Pinsky, Columbian freelance food writer
Published: April 5, 2024, 6:05am
3 Photos
Seidy Selivanow of Kafiex Roasters placed eighth in the nation at the U.S. Barista Championship at Klatch Coffee in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., in March.
Seidy Selivanow of Kafiex Roasters placed eighth in the nation at the U.S. Barista Championship at Klatch Coffee in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., in March. (Courtesy of Josh “Jethro” Bowers) (Courtesy of Josh “Jethro” Bowers) Photo Gallery

Seidy Selivanow of Kafiex Roasters placed eighth in the nation at the U.S. Barista Competition at Klatch in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., in March.

Selivanow is hosting tastings of her award-winning beverages at her coffee lab near Esther Short Park in the coming weeks.

For the national competition, Selivanow and other competitors developed four specialty coffee drinks that they then prepared for judges. This was Selivanow’s second year competing. To prepare, she traveled to Mexico and Columbia seeking micro-lot coffees that are meticulously grown and processed for competition standards.

Micro-lots are small traceable coffee groupings. This type of specificity is also used in wine production. More recently, the speciality coffee industry has adopted this approach to give buyers specific information about growing techniques and processing.

If You Go

What: Specialty coffee tasting

Where: Kafiex Roasters Coffee Lab, 720 Esther St., Vancouver.

When: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. today; 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. April 19.

Cost: $40 per person; tickets available at www.kafiex.com or at the door.

In September, Selivanow visited La Joya Micro-Mill in Xico, Veracruz, Mexico, to meet with owners Samuel and Gloria Ronzon. Samuel is a third-generation coffee producer. His wife, Gloria, is a doctoral candidate in ecology and biotechnology sciences. The couple combines modern scientific and traditional regenerative farming to grow their beans and produce intentionally fermented coffees. Selivanow handpicked a coffee from one of their micro-lots.

The La Joya beans she chose are processed using a 120-hour natural carbonic maceration method that allows berry flavors from the fruit to linger on the beans while also providing dark chocolate notes. Harvested coffee cherries are placed in an airtight environment and carbon dioxide is added to break down different levels of pectin in the fruit. It’s not commonly known, but coffee beans are actually seeds from a cherry-like fruit. After fermentation, the beans are processed by washing or drying.

Selivanow prepared this Joya coffee in a cortado combined with freeze-distilled lactose-free milk that gives the drink a sweetness like yellow cake batter. The berry notes that linger on the beans after maceration make the drink taste like raspberry ice cream with a vanilla and cocoa finish.

She also visited farm, mill and coffee eco-tourism destination La Palma & El Tucán (The Palm & The Toucan) in the mountains of Zipacón, Cundinamarca, Columbia, which she described as the Disneyland of specialty coffee. This farm, owned by Felipe Sardi and Elisa Maria Madriñan, takes a similar approach to coffee as La Joya — combining traditional growing processes with modern science.

Selivanow chose their Geisha variety known for its bold flavor and sweetness. She used this special coffee to make a double espresso shot with tasting notes of apple, Rainier cherry, jasmine and oolong peach tea.

“I wanted to serve these two coffees for competition because I’ve worked with them for months and I’ve been to both farms,” Selivanow said. She commissioned a ceramic studio in her native home of Mexico City to create special cups inspired by the monarch butterfly.

Coffee drinks developed for competition are typically only consumed by the judges, but Selivanow wants to share these special sips with her customers in Vancouver. She will be offering a two-drink coffee tasting ($40) at her coffee lab today, Sunday and Tuesday, as well as April 19.

Tasting menus are common in the fine-dining sector of the restaurant world, but this type of elevated experience hasn’t been offered by coffee businesses. Selivanow is looking to change that by giving customers a chance to try her competition drinks in one-of-a-kind ceramic cups.

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Columbian freelance food writer