Throughout her career in the coffee industry, Phyllis Johnson has faced many industry leaders who are not used to seeing a Black woman work in coffee. While visiting coffee farms around the world and serving on boards for associations like the National Coffee Association, Johnson — the co-founder and president of coffee importing company BD Imports — said she's often felt people were wondering why she was there.
“I realized that Black Americans who showed up in coffee were very, very few,” Johnson said. “All my career, I’ve been trying to explain that believe it or not, I am a coffee buyer, I’m Black and I’m a woman.”
SKIP AHEAD Black-owned coffee companies to shop online | More Black-owned coffee companies to consider
Her experiences — as well as George Floyd's death in 2020 and subsequent national attention to issues around discrimination and police brutality — inspired Johnson to start the nonprofit Coffee Coalition for Racial Equality, which provides support and mentorship for Black coffee professionals and develops training programs surrounding diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. She said the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equality's goal is to close the opportunity gap Black professionals in the coffee industry often face in regards to education, business development and capital compared to their white counterparts. Broadly speaking, Black-owned employer businesses are three times more likely than white-owned to report a negative impact on profitability from a lack of access to capital, as we reported in our guide to Black-owned businesses.
“There are no Black heroes in coffee,” she said, referring to the lack of Black leaders and mentors in the industry. “There’s so much work to be done, but there are also so many beautiful stories to be told.”
Shoppers can participate in closing the opportunity gap for Black coffee professionals, said Johnson: When you buy from Black-owned coffee companies, you’re supporting them economically and expanding their customer base. Here, we rounded up Black-owned coffee companies across the country that sell multiple roasts, including espresso, which you can shop online. We also asked companies’ founders about why they started their businesses and their experiences in the coffee industry.
Black-owned coffee companies to shop online
All the companies below confirmed that they are at least 51% Black-owned (the definition of a Black-owned business, according to the Census Bureau). We highlighted items you can buy online from each business.
NoirePack Coffee Roasters Sample Box
After working for corporate coffee companies, Edward McFields channeled his love for the drink into NoirePack, a coffee-shopping platform that works with Black roasters from across the country. McFields said his goal is to expose people to Black coffee roasters and help businesses reach a larger national customer base.
NoirePack sells the roasters' coffee as individual bags as well as in variety packs. Coffee Roasters Sample Boxes feature three bags of beans from Black-owned coffee companies, highlighting different roasts or themes, like organic beans or coffee from women-owned companies. You choose ground coffee or whole beans to grind at home.
BLK & Bold: Rise & GRND Whole Bean Medium Roast Coffee
Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson founders of BLK & Bold, said the name of their company represents not only the product they sell — black coffee with bold flavor — but also who they are. “We’re two Black men on a mission to do something bold,” Johnson said.
BLK & Bold’s medium roast, which is the brand’s signature coffee blend, is savory with nutty flavor notes, and you can buy whole beans or ground coffee. BLK & Bold pledges 5% of its proceeds to nonprofit organizations across America that support and instill confidence in children, the company said. BLK & Bold also recently released a book filled with coffee-based recipes, with 100% of proceeds going to the brand’s nonprofit partners.
Kahawa 1893 Safari Blend
Kahawa 1893 founder and CEO Margaret Nyamumbo is a third-generation coffee farmer who went to business school in the U.S. but returned home to Kenya to prevent her father from selling the family farm. “Growing up, I saw that women in my area supplied almost all coffee production labor but were under- or uncompensated,” said the a third-generation coffee farmer. “I founded Kahawa 1893 to help empower the women that make the coffee trade possible, who are truly the backbone of the industry.” There's a QR code on each bag of Kahawa 1893 coffee that customers can scan to tip the women who produce the coffee, and Kahawa 1893 matches all tips.
Now based in San Francisco, Nyamumbo accepted an investment offer on a recent Shark Tank episode. The brand says its top seller is its Safari Blend, a dark coffee with notes of caramel and milk chocolate.
Monday Coffee Co. Whole Beans
Prior to opening Chicago-based Monday Coffee Co. in October 2020, Amanda Harth and Felton Kizer did not have much formal training in coffee. But Harth said she saw that as an advantage — Monday Coffee Co. was an opportunity to build a company based on their personal goals as business owners without feeling tied to industry norms or traditions.
“Our mission is to change the narrative around how people experience coffee and coffee culture,” Harth said. “It’s more important than ever to have conversations about representation in the industry.”
Monday Coffee Co. offers three roasts, all sourced from a roaster in Michigan. Kizer said two of the roasts — No. 1 and No. 3 — are always available as staple menu items while roast No. 2 is seasonal and changes frequently, giving customers the opportunity to experiment with unique flavors. The company sells bags of whole beans for each type of roast it offers, as well as 32-ounce containers of cold brew.
Bad Beans Coffee Doctor House Blend
When Bad Beans Coffee founder and musician Derek McKeith worked as a barista, he said his customers often wished for a better-tasting coffee selection. “I heard this so much over time, I just wanted to solve the problem," said McKeith.
Now, Bad Beans Coffee offers 13 flavor choices, including secret blend, Doctor House, a medium roast with sweet, nutty and cocoa notes, according to the brand. The beans come whole in a 12-ounce bag.
Three Keys Coffee Brazil Bossa Nova
Getting into the coffee industry without established connections is hard no matter what, but it's even harder as Black individuals, said Three Keys Coffee founders, Tio and Kenzel Fallen. So the husband and wife team decided to "define [their] own lane" and found their own approach to connect with customers: bringing coffee, music and art together, according to the Fallens. Each bag of Three Keys Coffee beans has an artistic design and corresponds to a curated Spotify playlist created by the company.
Three Keys Coffee’s Brazil Bossa Nova coffee is a single origin dark roast with notes of dark chocolate, caramel, peanut butter and red fruit, according to the company. You can purchase the coffee as whole beans, ground medium or ground coarse.
Campfire Coffee Mountain Top Espresso Blend
Quincy Henry said he and his wife, Whitni, wanted to combine their love of camping and coffee when founding their business, Campfire Coffee. Based in Washington State, the brand specializes in roasting beans over an open flame. Not everyone in the industry is on board with Campfire Coffee’s “unconventional” roasting method, said Henry, but he sees this type of innovation as looking toward the future.
“We represent a stark contrast from the norm, but that brings about a great opportunity to rewrite the playbook of what coffee can aspire to,” Henry said.
Campfire Coffee says its Mountain Top Espresso Blend has chocolate and smokey notes and tastes a little earthy. The blend comes as whole beans in a 12-ounce bag and features Central American and East African coffees.
Reveille Trading Company Coffee Subscription Box
After a medical retirement from the Coast Guard, Calvin Harris spent two years meeting coffee producers in 50 different countries. He later founded Reveille Trading Company, which Harris told us has direct-trade relationships with coffee producers around the world, offering shoppers specialty roasts from Latin America, Africa, India and beyond.
In addition to being Black-owned, Harris said Reveille Trading Company is a certified veteran-owned business. You can purchase individual bags of beans from the company as well as a Coffee Subscription box that arrives every one to four months depending on the schedule you select. You can choose from ¾ pound, 1 ½ pounds or 3 pounds of coffee in light, medium, dark or espresso roasts for your subscription box and specify whether you want whole beans or ground.
More Black-owned coffee companies to consider
- 444 Coffee Lab
- Alpenglow Coffee Co.
- Black Acres Roastery
- Black Coffee Fort Worth
- BlackNerd Coffee
- Boon Boona Coffee
- Bright Land Coffee
- Caribbrew Coffee
- Chicago French Press
- Coffee Uplifts People
- Dope Coffee
- Ezra Coffee
- Habasha Coffee
- Matriarch Coffee
- On the Go Joe Coffee
- Patria Coffee
- Portrait Coffee
- Red Bay Coffee
- Sailor’s Brew Coffee
- Sip & Sonder
- Style Pop Cafe
- Vagrant Coffee
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