A third-generation coffee farmer with Kenyan roots has introduced her company Kahawa 1893 to a new audience in a recent landmark business move. The brand has become the first Black woman-owned coffee product to be sold by grocery retailer Trader Joe’s. As the rollout continues, Kahawa 1893 will become available at Trader Joe’s in various regions and at all 200 California locations.
CEO and founder Margaret Nyamumbo shared excitement for the business milestone in a press release.
“Being the first Black woman-owned coffee brand to be sold in Trader Joe’s is not only an exciting time for me but also signifies a commitment in showcasing the amazing diversity in the marketplace by Black-owned brands,” she said.
“I am thrilled to share the rich and aromatic flavors of Kahawa 1893, a true Kenyan coffee with consumers while supporting the female African coffee farmers who are an integral part of this incredible journey.”
Nyamumbo, a former Wall Street Investment Banker and Harvard graduate created Kahawa 1893 in 2017 to add a premium, traceable Kenyan coffee to the market. Through the company, she also empowers women in Kenya who farm coffee beans.
“When a consumer buys coffee at Trader Joe’s, they can scan a QR code and send a tip to a farmer’s e-wallet who will receive that money directly. Kahawa 1893 matches all tips to double the impact,” Nyamumbo shared.
The brand sells whole beans, ground, and convenient, eco-friendly single-serve coffee packs— compostable coffee bags that steep within 5 minutes. There are also multiple blends including Kenyan, Peaberry, Serengeti, Ethiopian, Safari, 1893 Espresso, and decaf.
According to the company’s website, pricing begins at $15 for branded mugs and $15.95 for a 12 oz bag. Consumers can also enjoy a monthly coffee subscription starting at $28.70.
After the racial reckoning in the corporate world following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, Trader Joe’s established a scholarship fund to support Black employees and pledged to increase supplier diversity.
According to the Winsight Grocery Business, TJ’s has surpassed its goal of shelving 15% of its products from Black-owned brands. Kahawa 1893 joins a growing list of Black-woman-owned brands at Trader Joe’s including McBride Sisters wine, Partake Foods founded by CEO Denise Woodard.
“We are pleased to report that we have been exceeding this goal: an average of more than 25% of products evaluated at our panels since June have been from Black-owned suppliers,” the company said. “We have approved more than 30 new products, and the results are already arriving on store shelves.”
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