May 24, 2023 2 min read

Coffee is a beverage enjoyed by people of all backgrounds, but the coffee industry has a long history of underrepresentation of people of color. The industry has traditionally been dominated by white-owned companies and plantations, with little opportunity for people of color to participate in the supply chain. However, there is a growing movement to promote diversity and inclusion in the coffee industry, which includes efforts to increase representation and support for people of color.

The lack of representation in the coffee industry is a symptom of larger social and economic issues, including historical and ongoing racial inequality, and limited access to resources and opportunities. These factors have contributed to a lack of diversity in all areas of the coffee supply chain, from farming and processing to roasting and distribution.

There is a growing recognition of the importance of representation and diversity in the coffee industry. Coffee companies and organizations are beginning to prioritize diversity and inclusion in their hiring and business practices. For example, the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) has developed programs that aim to increase diversity in the coffee industry, including the Partnership for Gender Equity, which focuses on women's empowerment in the coffee industry. Additionally, coffee companies like Red Bay Coffee in Oakland, California, prioritize diversity and social justice in their business practices, and work to support and uplift underrepresented communities.

As an African coffee company, we have a responsibility to demand diversity and inclusion in the coffee industry, and to support companies and initiatives that prioritize these values. This might involve seeking out coffee from diverse sources, such as small-scale farmers and cooperatives in the global south, or supporting companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion in their business practices. It also means engaging in conversations about the importance of representation and diversity in the coffee industry, and advocating for change in the industry.

As consumers you also have the opportunity to influence equity in the coffee space by shopping consciously from companies like ours and others who place importance in sourcing directly from farmers of color, supporting black and brown coffee businesses and shopping with companies that pay farmers and processors fair-trade prices.