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Photo by Deborah Stone

Passionate about coffee

  by Deborah Stone
   To produce a good cup of coffee was the motivation for Daryl Kastelic in setting up his own coffee roasting business, Black Swan Coffee Roasting Company. In February of 1996, he rented 1700 square feet of warehouse space in Woodinville Park North and in April of the same year, he began roasting and wholesaling a full line of estate coffees, premium coffee blends and espresso roasts. He chose Woodinville in which to locate his company because he says, "It's a beautiful place, a growing community and there are not too many roasters on the Eastside to service the area."
   Kastelic and his sister Sandra Kastelic are the only two employees in the business. He is President and does all the roasting personally and she serves as Vice President of Marketing and Advertising. He has been in the coffee and food service industry for over ten years, gaining experience in roasting techniques, coffee brewing systems, and selling and distributing coffee. She has worked in the marketing field for a number of years. "Together we make a good team," says Sandra, "as we each have our strengths."
   Black Swan Coffee Roasting Company prides itself in offering the highest quality of Arabica beans from around the world that have been roasted to perfection and then delivered fresh to its customers. "We have a passion for coffee," says Daryl, " and a sincere commitment to customer service." He spends much time educating and training customers about coffee and takes pleasure in sharing his knowledge.
   Clientele range from upscale restaurants to espresso carts, whole bean distributors and coffee shops. "We provide a twenty four hour service that's friendly and hands-on," explains Kastelic. "We get calls for help with the correct grinding of the beans, espresso and drip coffee making procedures, equipment repair and set-up advice. Big companies don't provide that kind of personalized assistance," he adds. The name and logo design for the company was Sandra's brainchild. When visiting Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah awhile back, she was taken with the beauty of the black swan resident, Tongo.
   She and Daryl decided to use the black swan as the theme for the company, incorporating it in the name, logo and their business philosophy. In the company brochure, it reads, "Premium coffees and service, as endangered and legendary as the exquisite Black Swan." Further on it reads, "Black Swan Coffee Roasting Company, dedicated and committed to uncompromising excellence, and to the greatest endangered species of them all...the satisfied customer." Even the names of the coffees relate to swans with such offerings as Cygnet, Trumpeter, Eye of the Swan, Chef's Black Necked Blend and The Swan of Avon.
   To achieve a state of perfection in roasting, Kastelic uses a Probat Gourmet Roaster which is a traditional gas roaster. He says, "It uses a drum rolling system that rotates the beans to get an even roast and a more gentle roast for longer periods of time. The flavors aren't rushed, yet it can do a hundred pounds of coffee an hour." The company has been doing well for its first year of operation and has been meeting the competition head on, according to both Kastelics.
   They are distributing their product throughout Washington and the U.S. They also have a mail order business and do specialty gift boxes. The most popular coffee blends requested are the Eye of the Swan in the espresso line and Chef's Black Neck in the drip line. Daryl and Sandra aim for continued growth in the future, as well as opening an outlet store on the Eastside to sell more retail products. Both are also very community service oriented. Daryl has done presentations at schools to tell about the origin of coffee and the process it undergoes from the field to the stores. The company has also adopted Tongo at the Cougar Mountain Zoo, helping to provide for the swan's expenses. For more information about Black Swan Coffee Roasting Company, call 487-2005 or visit its offices in Woodinville Park North, Building C-300.