Many readers have reached out in the last 24 hours via email and social media, requesting a resource to support Black-owned coffee companies in today’s historic moment for civil rights in the United States. In response, the last 24 hours have been spent reaching out and calling in to Black-owned coffee businesses across the United States, speaking directly with owners, founders, and members of various leadership teams. The goal was to provide a working, updating list of Black-owned coffee businesses across the country while prioritizing consent and permission from every included company.
Consent to being included is incredibly important, for reasons both obvious and subtle. This list is not perfect or fully authoritative and will be updated with additional information in the hours and days to come as we continue to gather consent and input from Black-owned coffee companies.
Alongside their own work, each owner and business leader was welcomed to spotlight an organization—be it local or national—that they wanted to amplify at this moment. Join us in donating to these organizations, and please see yesterday’s feature for an additional list of organizations and educational resources to support. Most of these are outside of the sphere of coffee—this is a moment that’s bigger than coffee.
If buying a bag of coffee is the beginning and end of your activism, that’s not enough. Don’t let it be where it ends.
This story is updating—we will continue adding businesses to it in the hours and days to come. Want to get in touch? Reach out via the contact form.
Des Moines, Iowa based BLK & Bold was founded by Rod Johnson and Pernell Cezar. A distribution deal with Target makes BLK & Bold one of the biggest national Black-owned coffee brands in the United States in terms of coffee availability and access.
Here’s more info from the official BLK & Bold website:
“Our founders, Pernell & Rod, created BLK & Bold with a desire to make purpose popular. They welcome the obligation to equip young people with tools to live their best lives and overcome familiar unfortunate circumstances by turning a daily ritual, enjoying a cup of coffee & tea, into a means of giving back. BLK & Bold pledges 5% of its profits to initiatives aligned to sustaining youth programming, enhancing workforce development, and eradicating youth homelessness.”
Red Bay Coffee of Oakland, California is one of the most important coffee brands in the United States right now. Founder Keba Konte has managed the brand’s growth since founding Red Bay in 2014, including a successful Series A fundraising round in 2019 and multiple successful crowdfunding campaigns. In what Red Bay calls “an evolution of coffee culture,” Red Bay’s dedication to diversity and inclusivity is dug into the DNA of the company. “Customers are looking for a coffee experience that’s more inclusive and more deeply connected to the community,” they write. “[The] specialty coffee industry presents an opportunity to correct several inequities.”
Read a 2019 spotlight feature on Red Bay Coffee and founder Keba Konte.
Keba Konte would like to recommend Sprudge readers support the Dream Youth Clinic in Oakland, California whose mission is “Youth informed. Youth-led. Youth engaged.”
Cxffeeblack is the work of Bartholomew Jones, a Memphis based barista, brand builder, apparel designer, and activist. “Cxffee is more than a sugar and cream thing,” he writes. “It’s more than a colonial commodity. It’s meant for the people. Let’s #makecxffeeblackagain.”
Jones is a member of the Sprudge Twenty Class for 2020, with a forthcoming spotlight feature published in the coming days. He offers a range of originally designed apparel directly via his Cxffeeblack website, including t-shirts currently in the pre-order phase and multiple prints, stickers, and music bundles. He’s also responsible for the excellent Guji Mane coffee collaboration with Ethnos Coffee.
Bartholomew Jones would like to recommend Sprudge readers support the BLM Memphis chapter.
On experience alone, Deadstock Coffee is one of the best coffee shops on the American West Coast, a clearinghouse of information and ideas, a daily intellectual feast of creatives from around the world connected by a love of coffee and sneaker culture. Founder Ian Williams has rightly be given significant media love, profiled by publications both local, national, and international thanks to an ongoing series of collaborations with the Tokyo Coffee Festival. He’s also a gifted coffee roaster now offering national shipping in the wake of COVID-19.
Deadstock’s official website offers a range of coffee and industry-leading merch design available, all of it created in-house by Deadstock’s team. You can learn more about this design process in our interview with Ian Williams from 2018, this excellent spotlight by Nike, and this episode of the podcast Racist Sandwich.
Deadstock is experiencing an outpouring of community support and some of the busiest days in the shop’s history over the last 72 hours. Ian and his team of baristas are donating funds to the Congressional Black Caucus and have asked this be shared with Sprudge readers looking to provide additional support.
Living coffee legend Lem Butler is the co-founder (with Kyle Ramage) at Black & White Coffee Roasters, serving Wake Forest and a range of wholesale partners across the country, including Hopper & Burr in California, Drip in NYC, and Brew in North Carolina. He is the 2016 United States Barista Champion (read an in-depth interview with him here after the big win) and a five-time champion at the regional level, making him perhaps the most awarded and accomplished barista in American coffee competition history.
Lem Butler was a Black Coffee panelist at the Black Coffee event in New York City—watch this panel here. He has become a kind of “most likely to be mentioned” source of inspiration for baristas in the Sprudge Twenty and across the industry, serving as a much-loved MC at the Coffee Masters events and performing as an in-demand DJ at coffee social events around the world.
Like so many coffee businesses around the country, Black & White have struggled with the effects of COVID-19 but “we have a great staff and community support has been incredible over the last couple months,” Butler says.
Lem Butler would like to recommend Sprudge readers consider supporting the Freedom Fighters Bond Fund.
Maurice Harris is the founder of Bloom & Plume in Los Angeles, a unique coffee shop and floral design studio hybrid located in Echo Park. Harris’s list of clients reads like a who’s who of creative LA, from Goop to Gucci to MOCA and LACMA and dozens more, and in 2020 Harris has parlayed this work into a series of hosting gigs for programs on Quibi and HBOMax.
The coffee portion of Harris’ mission is styled as “your favorite neighborhood coffee shop… where everyone belongs and becomes a better version of themselves – One Cup, One Person, and One Neighborhood at a Time.” B&P Coffee has its own Instagram, and online they offer very good merch (look at this beautiful tote), gift cards, and pre-order for pick-up.
Bloom & Plume Coffee GM Andru Jones would like to point Sprudge readers interested in donating to The Okra Project, and included this statement on the organization’s work:
“They are an organization that supports folks of the Black trans community who experience food insecurity, paying Black trans chefs to cook free meals for black trans individuals. In wake of the murder of Tony McDade and Nina Pop, The Okra Project started a Mental Health Recovery Fund, those donations go toward providing free therapy sessions with black therapists for trans-Black folks.”
Vagrant Coffee is a Baltimore brand, founded by Joshua Dew (with Jared Cate) in 2017, with the goal of “taking quality coffee everywhere through retail stores, specialty coffee catering, and small-batch, craft coffee roasted in Baltimore, Maryland.” In addition to offering online roasted coffee sales, original merch, and online ordering, Vagrant publish a blog, podcast, and video channel under “The Hustle Club” brand umbrella.
In lieu of supporting one specific organization, Vagrant has asked to share the following message: “We would encourage the involvement in the many local grassroots organizations that bring about change in urban centers.”
Southeastern Coffee Roastery is the work of Candy Schibli, whose title is “Founder/Head Roaster.” The brand offers a broad range of services, from one-time online coffee purchasing to subscriptions, local delivery, bespoke blending, food, tea, wholesale, and toll roasting—a full suite of coffee options and many ways to support their work.
Candy Schibli was a panelist at the Black Coffee DC event, and here’s a little more about their work form the official Southeastern Roastery website: “Beautifully southern, it is committed to promoting the cultural exchange, open dialogue, and collective creativity that coffee communion has historically and internationally nurtured. Southeastern Roastery unabashedly continues in this warm tradition by offering fresh, high quality, specialty coffees and sharing inspiring roasts in love.”
Candy Schibli would like to recommend Sprudge readers support the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project.
Coffee buyer, roasting company owner, and origin expert Phyllis Johnson is the founder of BD Imports, a coffee company dedicated to gender equity across the supply chain. BD offers a diversified range of services, crafting custom blends for roasting partners and roasting their own coffees targeted at the hospitality sector. Johnson is also a very accomplished and gifted public speaker and communicator, appearing on a range of panels and interviews across the specialty coffee industry over the last decade. Her landmark feature Strong Black Coffee: Why Aren’t African-Americans More Prominent in the Coffee Industry? is the winner of the Maggie Award for magazine journalism. For more on Phyllis Johnson and her mission, read this interview feature from 2017.
Phyllis Johnson would like to recommend Sprudge readers consider supporting the Equal Justice Initiative.
BeanFruit Coffee founder Paul Bonds fell in love with coffee at a public cupping; today he owns one of the most decorated coffee roasting brands in the American south, winner of the Good Food Awards honor for coffee roasting and home to a fervent fan base stretching from Farmer’s Markets to high-end restaurants and online shopping. On BeanFruit’s website, you can purchase coffee, coffee subscriptions, crucial gear, and nice merch, plus learn from a range of brew guides and discover more from their vendors.
You will love this coffee! And while sipping, check out a feature on Paul Bonds and BeanFruit from 2016.
Paul Bonds has passed along the following note to Sprudge readers: “Please support your local public broadcasting system. Our current focus is on the protests, as it should be. However, we are still experiencing a pandemic, and children are relying on these free, accessible educational tools more than ever.” To find a list of public broadcasting stations to donate near you, click here.
Barista Life LA is the full sevice training, education, consulting, private event and home demonstration brand from Los Angeles barista LaNisa Williams. On Instagram BaristaLifeLA is a strong must-follow, profiling Williams as she works with a broad range of cafes and consulting clients around the LA area, making beautiful drinks and educating along the way. A new launched initiative called #BlackInBrew highlights Black excellence across the specialty coffee industry.
LaNisa Williams is a member of the Sprudge 20 class of 2020 and you can read more about their work here. If you’re interested in supporting BaristaLifeLA, contact BaristaLifeLA directly via Instagram.
LaNisa Williams would like to recommend Sprudge readers consider supporting Pink Money Powerhouse, “a female owned and operated space for women to work and grow.” BaristaLifeLA’s forthcoming coffee kiosk will be located at PMP. Look for more on this on Sprudge in the coming weeks.
One of the most dynamic and interesting coffee brands in the country right now, full stop—Drip Coffee’s Nigel Price is a coffee name you should know. Start with this recently released promo on IGTV to learn more about Drip and the work they’re doing, then follow them on Instagram for updates and hit their online shop to support (including gift cards). We’re thrilled to see the ongoing growth of Drip, whose transition to brick and mortar in 2020 follows their earlier work as a coffee cart, profiled as part of the 2019 Build-Outs Of Summer series.
Drip Coffee founder Nigel Price would like to recommend Sprudge readers consider supporting the ACLU.
Getchusomegear founder Chris McAuley is dedicated to passing on support to marginalized baristas. Their project compiles used and no longer needed coffee gear and gifts it to baristas around the country, a laudable action that feels increasingly essential in the current shared moment. Learn more about this project in Chris McAuley’s guest spot on @FullBodiedSweetFinish and click here to learn more on how to support Getchusomegear’s mission, including donating gear.
This feature is incomplete, imperfect, and updating. Additional businesses and business owners will be added to it in the hours and days to come.