Photo Credit: Café Di Preto
Meet The Afro-Brazilian Man Looking To Challenge The White-Elite Coffee Industry
Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producing country. In fact, coffee plantations helped turn Brazil into the largest importer of enslaved Africans in the world. Trying to break the door of this white-elite billionaire business is a young Afro-Brazilian man named Raphael da Silva Brandão. At only 29, he decided to create his own coffee brand—Café di Petro in December 2020.
The idea of creating a coffee brand came from his former job as a coffee roaster.
“I work in many places such as coffee shops, events and fairs. I started to realize I was always one of the few Black people in these environments,” Brandão told Travel Noire.
The young Afro-Brazilian man decided to search on Google the words “Pretos e café” (Blacks and coffee, in Portuguese), and all he could find were articles referring to Black people during Brazil’s slavery era.
“Café di Preto emerged with a strong desire to give Black protagonism to the coffee sector in Brazil, while trying to involve Black people in all production processes, from cultivation to the cup,” he said.
He added that he had the support from investors who helped him to make it happen.
For Brandão, his Black-owned coffee brand also intends to make specialty coffee more popular among Afro-Brazilian consumers with affordable prices.
“The response from the public has been much greater than I expected. Many people have embraced the brand with great affection, and not only the brand but also its proposal. I receive daily feedback from people who say how important the brand is, as it empowers Black people. The essence of the company is to reach the top. For that matter, the importance of Café Di Preto is enormous, as we ended up uniting Black Brazilians in order to fortify ourselves and understand each other as people of power.”
The Afro-Brazlian entrepreneur, who was born in a small town of the state of Rio de Janeiro, recalls that he has not always been connected to racial issues in Brazil.
“As a Black person in Brazil, racism has always been a big issue in my life, but I only started to change my views on racism in Brazil after I met my girlfriend who helped me to see myself as a proud Black man. She has been very supportive,” he said.
Besides managing Café di Petro, Brandão is also a member of Educafro. Educafro is a Brazilian NGO that works with public policies for the inclusion of Black and other impoverished youth in universities and the job market. It is regarded as one of the most combative entities for this purpose in Brazil.
In the future, Brandão hopes that his coffee brand achieves great success in Brazil and in other places of the African diaspora.
“I’m working to turn Café di Petro into a large company that gives visibility among Black people around the world.”