Black Kahawa Coffee Brings East African Flair To Downtown Columbus – Blavity

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A new Black-owned coffee shop specializing in East African flavors will open in downtown Columbus, Ohio, all thanks to a local minority business program. 

WCMH reported that Ohio native Douglas Buckley ran a coffee shop for six years in Tanzania through faith-based humanitarian work. Upon returning to his hometown, he found inspiration to launch the business, Black Kahawa Coffee, driven by his desire to share the flavors of East Africa with his community.

“Being African American and also being biracial, and wanting to celebrate the coffee’s East African origin story, I felt like it was something that was timely,” Buckley explained to the outlet. “This was like in 2018, this period of time where I was watching from Tanzania what I call kind of this racial awakening that was going on in our culture. I saw there was a need to, a great opportunity to focus on coffee’s East African origin.”

Although Buckley enjoyed coffee roasting at home, he said he later developed a passion for it during his time in Tanzania. According to him, there are several key differences between East African coffee and the brands Americans drink regularly. 

While some East African coffee blends hint at “chocolate,” “creamy nuttiness” and floral or fruit flavors, Buckley said the roasting process also differs from the States. 

Buckley is now prepared to move Black Kahawa into its first brick-and-mortar location, which he said was made possible through the city’s Downtown Ground Floor Growth Initiative. The Columbus City Council passed the program in October to help small minority and women-owned businesses downtown, WCMH reported. 

“I feel like at the heart of it is helping entrepreneurs take a risk that they otherwise might not have, Buckley said. “Kind of giving them a little bit of freedom and room to be unique, which I think is very valuable.”

In addition to opening the new shop, Buckley said he also plans to have public roasting sessions in the store’s window so those passing by can view the process. 

Black Kahawa is expected to open sometime this summer. 

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