Photo Credit: Kahawa 1893 Coffee
Meet The CEO Of The First Black Woman-Owned Coffee Brand In Trader Joe's
The next time you find yourself in Trader Joe’s, make sure to support the first Black woman-owned coffee brand to grace their shelves. Kahawa 1893 Coffee is the brainchild of founder and CEO Margaret Nyamumbo, a third-generation coffee farmer from Kenya.
Margaret relocated to the United States to attend college. After completing her MBA at Harvard Business School, she worked on Wall Street. In 2017, she founded Kahawa 1893 to consciously aid women coffee workers and combat inequities in the coffee industry.
“I grew up on a coffee farm in Kenya, where I witnessed all the passion and dedication that goes into producing a delicious cup of coffee. I wanted to share it with the world while, most importantly, working to help close the racial and gender gap in the industry.”
“In Kenya, women provide 90% of the labor in coffee, but go mostly uncompensated. I founded Kahawa 1893 to make sure the women were visible and get a fair share for their outsized contributions to coffee.”
Curious about the brand’s name? Kahawa means coffee in Swahili and 1893 is the year that coffee returned to Africa. Margaret says the brand is a celebration of the beauty of African coffees and Black excellence. So far, the journey from creating her company to now seeing it sold in multiple stores across the country has been an exciting one for her.
“It’s been an adventure,” she said. “I have learned so much about the coffee industry, how it works, and how I can best have an impact through my work. It has definitely been rewarding, as I have had the opportunity to showcase the African heritage of coffee and spotlight our contributions to the industry.”
Kahawa 1893 is currently available in stores in California, New York City, and Chicago. Beginning May 12 it will also be available on the shelves of all 200 Trader Joe’s stores in California, followed by expansion into other regions.
“It’s pretty exciting to be the first Black woman-owned coffee brand at Trader Joe’s and I have been amazed by all the support we have received from customers. As a regular shopper at Trader Joe’s, it’s even more meaningful because the coffee category has always consisted of only TJ branded coffee. I want to celebrate this with everyone in the community who can now shop for a Black-owned coffee brand at their local store.”
Kahawa 1893 is 100% Arabica coffee available in several varieties: Kenyan, Ethiopian, Peaberry, Espresso, Decaf, Safari blend, and Serengeti blend. If you’re not close to any of the stores selling it, you can order online at www.kahawa1893.com and choose whether you want your coffee whole bean or ground. You can also sign up for a coffee subscription to receive 10% off of your automatic monthly delivery of one 5-lb. bag, two 12 oz. bags, or a box of single-serve bags.
In addition to doing its part to ensure fair wages for women coffee workers, Kahawa 1893 has a women’s fund that the company contributes to and uses to support the women coffee growers it sources from.
“On the back of our bags, there is a QR code you can scan to contribute directly to the fund. We match customer contributions 100% to double the impact on the ground. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund has been a great source of support for the farmers as they navigated shutdowns.”
Kahawa 1893 believes that transparency can be a positive step towards racial and gender justice. The company has plans for the future that include utilizing newer forms of technology to connect producers and consumers, providing even more transparency in the coffee industry.