Retailer/Roaster Profile

Hello! Gaviña coffee company is one of biggest and most successful roastery businesses in existence, and today, we are lucky to have an interview with one of Gaviña’s family member – Don Francisco’s daughter Leonor Gaviña-Valls. Read it all here:

V. Gaviña has a rich coffee history that everybody should know about. We would love to hear it from you! Also, how did your history make you one of the best roasting companies in the world?
G. Our story begins over 140 years ago with our grandfather and his brother, Jose Maria and Ramon Gaviña, who left the Basque region of Spain for the rich coffee-bearing soil of Cuba, where together they established Hacienda Buenos Aires, the family farm located in the center of the county’s coffee-growing community. Our father, Don Francisco, was born there. He worked the fields with his father, watching and learning the secrets to growing quality coffee and roasting it to perfection. These traditions live on at Gaviña through Don Francisco’s children, who own and manage the company today.

When the Communist Revolution came into power in Cuba, the Gaviña family fled leaving behind our farms, roasting business, and home. Settling in Los Angeles with his family, Don Francisco dreamed of returning to the coffee business.

I remember how much he missed our coffee farm and roasting coffee. He loved coffee with all his heart. In a way, coffee was like a member of our family that we had lost, and he could not stop dreaming of the day when he would welcome that family member back. In 1967, we were blessed to watch that dream come to life. The doors opened to F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. in late June; my brothers and I all worked with our mom and dad to get the business up and running. He taught us that sharing a great cup of coffee with people is as important as anything else in this world. Coffee keeps people energized and awake so that they can do what is important in life, from playing with their kids to finishing a big project at work. We know our parents would be proud to see us keeping the dream alive today with our own children, the fourth generation of the Gaviña family with a passion for coffee.

V. Where does your company stand now?
G. As I mentioned, in 1967 the Gaviña family returned to the coffee business. F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. opened its doors just south of downtown Los Angeles in Vernon, California starting out in a 1200 square foot space. Growing and reinvesting in the business became the family’s focus.

The company has expanded three times since its founding in Los Angeles, and today it operates in a facility that was designed and built by the Gaviña family. The facility is an SQF Level 3 certified 234,000 square foot building with state-of-the-art roasting and packing operations, and is located just a few blocks from our original building.

V. Please tell us about your coffee, where does it come from?
G. While most of our coffee is sourced from Latin America, we buy coffee from all over the world including Central and South America, East Africa, Southeast Asia Pacific, Jamaica, and Hawaii.

Coffee sustainability is very important to our family, and it all starts with the farmers and their families. To directly support our coffee growing communities, we have sponsored direct impact projects building schools and remote learning centers for children in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico. These projects directly benefit the coffee growing communities that Gaviña buys coffee from and helps to keep the next generation of coffee farmers interested in growing and processing quality coffee. Additionally, we support International Women’s Coffee Alliance, Coffee Kids, and Grounds for Health, three organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for families in coffee producing regions with improved health care, education, and sustainable cancer screening programs. We also source Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, and USDA Organic certified coffees.

V. What are some of your strengths in terms of innovation and quality compared to comparable roaster companies in business?
G. Gaviña is committed to quality, and it is even certified. Our roasting facility is Safe Quality Food (SQF) certified. This means that we operate under strict guidelines set by the Global Food Safety initiative, and we are third party certified to ensure that our comprehensive food safety and quality management systems comply with its standards. We recently upgraded to Level 3 certification, which is the highest standard of food quality, safety, and traceability.

We also support the work of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), which is a nonprofit organization working internationally to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of the people who produce it. With seven licensed Q-Graders on staff, we host trainings to prepare future licensed Q-Graders in our Gaviña Training Center.

V. What is the best way for retailers to get in contact with you, and start ordering?
G. Call us at 1-800-GAVINAS (1-800-428-4627) and/or on

V. What are some of your future plans in terms of expansion and new product offerings?
G. Sustainability is a key topic at Gaviña. Today, the company redirects 84 percent of its waste through reduce, reuse, recycle programs including burlap bag, coffee chaff, shrink wrap, cardboard, and office-wide recycling.

We have plans to further reduce our carbon footprint by installing a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) unit, which will also reduce our energy usage. We recently upgraded to a solar reflective roof, which saves energy, and we are currently pursuing LEED certification for our building.

Our goal is to be zero waste to landfill. As such, we will conduct another study this summer of our waste stream to continue to improve our waste management programs, evaluate options to recycle our coffee packaging film, further our paper waste by analyzing options to store our important documents digitally and share these documents internally, which will also increase our operational efficiency.

V. Finally, is there something you would like to add to be shared with our coffee community?
G. When it comes to coffee, 140 years of passion and experience stand for something. From the mountains of Cuba where our family started growing coffee in 1870 to establishing ourselves as a U.S. roaster in 1967 in Los Angeles, our family crafted coffee is selected and roasted with excellent quality in mind. After four generations, our company is still family-owned and operated with pride and love for coffee, our customers, our community, and our suppliers.

We love our coffee family and would enjoy a visit from anyone in the community. Our plant in Vernon, California has an open door policy for tours and cupping sessions. Schedule a visit to check us out by emailing Hope to see you soon!

[iconbox title=”Gaviña Gourmet Coffee Company” icon=”adress_book.png”]
2700 Fruitland Ave.
Vernon, CA 90058
+1 (800) 428 – 4627
Leonor Gaviña-Valls[/iconbox]

Maxim Vershinin has been a columnist for CoffeeTalk for the last few years highlighting various roasters and retailers in the industry. He has lived in Peru for the last few years and is now furthering his education at Columbia University seeking a B.A. in economics.

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