“Kahawa” is “coffee” in Swahili. “1893” is the year coffee returned to Africa after traveling around the globe since it was discovered in Ethiopia in the 7th century.
African farmers produce the most celebrated kahawa in the world. Kenya, in particular, has the perfect climate and terroir for growing coffee with its high altitudes and rich volcanic soil. The Arabica beans burst with bright citrus notes complemented by warm spices, hints of berries, and the sweeter tastes of caramel, chocolate, and sugar. The ripest coffee cherries are hand-picked and sent to San Francisco for roasting. In Kahawa’s signature process, the beans are roasted slowly in small batches for the unparalleled quality, consistency and exquisitely complex flavor.
Kahawa 1893 Blends
Chai Spice is a blend of cinnamon, cardamon and cloves sourced directly from small farms in Zanzibar. The main ingredient is cinnamon, which comes from the inner bark of the tree. It’s more subtle, sweet and complex than “ordinary” cinnamon. The cloves come from the Zanzibar clove trees that are treasured as among the oldest in the world.
Tanzania Peaberry has tasting notes of tangerine and honey. The peaberry beans are larger, rounder, and sweeter than typical coffee beans, and the coffee is often described as having the flavor of two beans. Peaberry cherries produce only one coffee bean instead the two found in other coffee cherries.
Serengeti has tasting notes of chocolate and molasses and is a perfect, sweet dark roast. Named for the world-famous Serengeti grasslands in East Africa, the Serengeti blend combines a fruity Kenyan with a full-bodied Rwanda for a balanced, bold flavor. Great choice for a cold brew.
Ethiopian coffee beans are sourced from both Yirgacheffe and Guji, regions equally renowned for their coffee. Yirgacheffe beans are sourced from the farm of a woman who has been cultivating coffee since the 1950s and is passing along the traditional techniques of processing Ethiopian coffee to the next generation. The Guji beans are naturally processed, i.e., dried in the sun while still inside the coffee cherry, for beans with a fruity sweetness.
Rum Barrel-Aged Coffee is a limited release coffee, meticulously crafted to showcase the best of coffee and rum—the result of which is an exceptionally smooth cup of coffee with a caramel and vanilla finish. A freshly emptied rum barrel is filled with naturally processed Guji coffee that is slowly aged. The barrel is rotated regularly to ensure the coffee evenly absorbs the rum flavors. When ready, the coffee is roasted medium to accentuate the smooth, delicate flavors.
Chief Coffee Officer of Kahawa 1893
Margaret Nyamumbo, founder of Kahawa 1893, is a third generation coffee farmer from Kenya. Her grandfather was one of the first Kenyan natives to be allowed to grow coffee by the British colonists. Margaret was born on the farm and fondly remembers picking ripe coffee berries with her mother. A less pleasant memory was seeing women do most of the work in coffee cultivation and receiving very little compensation. Most of the compensation went to the land owners, and women owned little to no land.
When Margaret moved to the US to earn a BA from Smith College and an MBA from Harvard, she at first went the typical route of working on Wall Street. But the more she learned about finance, the more she wanted to build a business that would bolster women in the coffee industry back home.
Kahawa 1893 is a black woman-owned boutique company that encourages, supports, and empowers women farmers. It was born out of the need to help Kenyan communities by utilizing their centuries-old artisan skills to produce locally sourced premium quality coffee beans.
Kahawa 1893 as a Social Enterprise
At the center of Margaret’s business model is women’s empowerment. The coffee beans are sourced directly from women farmers in Kenya and Rwanda who receive equitable wages.
In addition, Margaret created a fund for the women that supplements their income to meet basic needs, employ workers and invest in the future. She commits 25% of the Kahawa 1893 profits to provide access to credit for women to empower them financially. On the website, there is a “tip page” where visitors to the site can contribute directly to the women coffee producers, and Margaret matches all tips 100%. On the Kahawa 1893 packages, there is a QR code for customers to scan to send a tip directly to a farmer’s e-wallet—also matched 100%.
Margaret is grateful for the scholarships that she received that allowed her to study at Smith and Harvard, and she is paying it forward by working with those schools to provide scholarships for women through Kahawa 1893.