June 19th, 2020 / 7 min read
In the midst of the #BlackLivesMatter movement comes an important milestone: the first Juneteenth to be nationally recognized by brands, employers and some local governments as an official holiday of serious import.
People of color have celebrated the unofficial end of slavery since the first Juneteenth in 1865. We say unofficial because, yes, even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, many slave states hid the information and continued to use violence to force men and women into slave labor for an additional two years. Juneteenth marks the day Major General Gordon Granger rode into Texas and officially ended slavery in the United States.
Much has changed since then. But, unfortunately, the systemic and structural effects of racism are still very obviously present today.
Which brings us to the eternal question: “What can we do to help?” We make coffee machines. We are a small start-up. Although we have set up recurring donations to organizations that support the fight for total equality and equity for POC in this country, we felt like we had to do something more with the resources available to us.
So, today we offer our own very small contribution towards a more equitable world – all through the lens of coffee, of course. Since we know that supporting small, black-owned businesses is becoming increasingly important, we put together a list of black-owned coffee brands in the US. Some are roasters with their own amazing beans, like BLK + Bold. Others, like Bushwick Grind, are anchors of their neighborhood, keeping the community caffeinated and ready to make change. Others still are interesting hybrids, like Sincerely, Tommy, a fashion boutique and wellness brand boasting its own coffee shop.
We know it’s not going to change the world. But we believe where you spend every dollar can make a difference. Please reach out to us on Instagram or shoot us an email to add more recommendations to this list. The goal is for it to be a living document that will grow as we learn about more amazing members of the black-owned coffee community. In this spirit, here are three of our favorite mission-driven, black-owned brands:
BLK & Bold
Des Moines, IA
First, to democratize high-quality coffee so that anyone can afford their premium product and experience the ritual. The brand strives to sell speciality coffee that bigger brands consider not “scalable enough” to be profitable—and that means dedication to fair/direct trade sourcing and natural processing methods that enhance the flavor beyond typical store-bought beans.
Second, BLK & Bold endeavors to reinvest in the community, prioritize diversity, and directly support charitable efforts focused on at-risk youth in Des Moines and around the country. Five percent of profits go to campaigns that provide programming for young people and enhance workforce development, and charities that work to eradicate youth hunger and homelessness. The brand-new partnership with Target has helped BLK & Bold expand their charity network and scale up their efforts to fund these important programs.
Black-owned, woman-owned, and veteran-owned Dope Coffee pushes back on a multitude of coffee industry stereotypes. Co-founders Michael Lloyd, a Marine veteran, and his wife Chel, the brand’s Chief Product Officer, linked with friend Julius Cave to form a brand that does things differently from other coffee companies and other start-ups. The vibe in their café purposefully harkens back to the small venue culture of the Harlem Renaissance, with Black artists both modern and classic through the speakers and a supportive, diverse environment designed for relaxation and savoring their premium coffee.
As a brand, Dope Coffee leans heavily on community investment, with crowdfunding and a mission to destigmatize coffee culture while acknowledging and addressing the fraught history of Black people and the coffee trade. Driven by CPO Chel, Dope Coffee also offers numerous coffee-based wellness products as a kind of test lab based on customer feedback.
Bloom & Plume
Los Angeles, CA
Part coffee shop and part design studio, founder Maurice Harris aims to serve coffee and aesthetics to East LA. Based around Ubuntu, the South African concept of community and togetherness, Harris blends his expertise as an artist and florist with his passion for coffee and design. The physical store is carefully curated and obsessively detailed in order to enhance the experience for each and every customer, while the apparel and merch run the gamut from typical mugs and shirts to prints and posters from Black artists celebrating their culture.
Bloom & Plume has already received accolades for its design and product, and the brand works to support charitable efforts supporting the Black LGBTQ+ community. Bloom & Plume directly pays trans chefs to prepare meals for trans people, and works with the Okra Project to provide free mental health sessions for trans people of color.
Terra Kaffe Team
At Terra Kaffe we are committed to furthering the growth of conscious consumption by reducing waste from coffee pods and brewing from fresh whole beans. Learn more about our bean-to-cup espresso machine here.