US-based Kenyan Margaret Nyamumbo is not your ordinary entrepreneur – she is the CEO of Kahawa 1893 Coffee.
Nyamumbo took the Kenyan coffee flavor to the US in a dramatic twist of her career. Her story embodies her love for Africa even if she is miles away from home. She is the first black woman to set up such a coffee franchise after quitting Wall Street.
Who Is Margaret Nyamumbo?
The Harvard Business School graduate (MBA) grew up in the Kenyan highlands. Coffee growing was the main economic activity in the region. All through, Nyamumbo loved entrepreneurship, and she got her breaking moment after an opportunity to study in the US. She relocated and pursued her MBA at the Harvard Business School. To kick-start her career, she landed a position on Wall Street.
How Did Margaret Nyamumbo Start Her Coffee Venture In The US?
With all the allure of working on Wall Street, the Kahawa 1893 Coffee proprietor wasn’t satisfied; not quite. She wanted more for herself.
All along, she would battle with thoughts of how best to bolster women, coffee workers, back home. Nyamumbo grew up pitying women working in coffee farms due to the meager earnings they took home. This thought never left her mind.
She labored so hard mentally through the years, trying to map out a solution to ensuring these women got better pay. And in 2017, she hung her boots on Wall Street and set out to establish her brand, now available in some US States.
What’s The Story Behind Kahawa 1893 Coffee?
Nyamumbo named her brand Kahawa in respect to her motherland. ‘Kahawa’ is a Swahili name meaning ‘Coffee’ in English. In a past interview with Travel Noire, she paints a picture of her inspiration behind establishing the coffee brand in the US.
“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.
She adds: “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.”
‘1893’ is symbolic of the year that coffee growing started in Africa. She celebrates the African culture concerning coffee farming.
How Does Kahawa 1893 Coffee Help Coffee Farmers In Kenya?
Today, Kahawa 1893 Coffee is selling in multiple outlets in the US in what Nyamumbo describes as an exciting journey. It is available in New York City, California, and Chicago.
Besides, it is now selling across all 200 Trader Joe’s stores in California while she looks at expanding to other regions. This journey allows her to support women in coffee farming back home. Nyamumbo sources all her Arabica coffee from Kenya and Ethiopia. She sells Espresso, Decaf, Safari band Serengeti blend, and Peaberry.
So, how does Kahawa 1893 Coffee help African women in the coffee industry?
There is a QR code at the back of the coffee bags that enables one to contribute directly to the fund. This funding scheme adds to a consumer contribution kitty. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund came in handy for the coffee farmers. The brand is also a step towards bridging the gender and racial gap in the industry.
How Is The Whole Experience?
Setting up the African coffee brand in the US has been a roller coaster for her. What encourages her is that she is the first black woman to have her products sold at Trader’s Joe. The support she has gotten so far is encouraging.
“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.”