I like my coffee how I like my men: hot, strong and BLACK!
In the early stages of quarantine, with most coffee shops closed down, many of us turned to brewing our own cup of joe at home to get our fix. Whether you went the quick and easy K-Cup route, or prefer to ground your beans from scratch, we can all agree that the perfect cup of coffee has the ability to turn around even the worst of workdays.
For many of us coffee lovers, a cup of morning coffee is a necessity for setting the tone for our day. So, why not switch up your usual at-home caffeine fix by placing your dollars into some dope Black-owned businesses? If you want to step away from the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts brand coffee to rise and grind for the real thing, order yourself some specialty coffees from one of these Black-owned coffee companies to keep you warm and toasty this fall.
10 Black-Owned Speciality Coffee Brands To Shop Online
BLK and Bold Specialty Beverages
Started by childhood best friends, Pernell Cezar and Jarrhod Johnson, BLK and Bold offers a variety of specialty coffee and tea blends with creative names such as Rise & GRND. The brand was the first Black-owned to be distributed nationally, now being sold nationwide at select Targets, Whole Foods Markets, and on Amazon. And if you needed any more reason to support these young men, the company pledges 5% of profits to local nonprofits, so your business will directly impact at-risk youth.
"If Dizzy, Basquiat, & Elijah McCoy roasted coffee, it would taste like Three Keys." That's the line you will find on the website of this Houston based craft coffee roastery founded by couple Tio and Kenzel Fallen. The name is inspired by the valves of the trumpet, and many of the blends have descriptions with connections to Jazz music. So, pour up a cup of one of their branded blends and vibe out to one of their playlists curated by renowned jazz musician, Jarritt Sheel.
Red Bay Coffee Roasters
Founded in 2014 by artist Keba Konte, Red Bay Coffee seeks to provide coffee that is both high-quality and sustainable. With roots in the Bay Area, this brand also strives to be inclusive in their hiring, including people of color, people with disabilities, the formerly incarcerated, and others from groups traditionally left out of the specialty coffee industry. And don't forget to grab one of their signature merch items that reads "Coffee: Africa's Gift to the World. You're Welcome."
Beanfruit Coffee Co.
M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I. I think you get the point of where Beanfruit Coffee Company got its humble beginnings. Though founder Paul Bonds was not a huge fan of coffee for a while, introduction to specialty coffee led him to experimenting with different types of coffee and eventually roasting his own. On the website you will find Colombian, Ethiopian, and Sumatran blends that can be purchased whole bean or grounded.
Historic Noir Coffee Group
Historic Noir Coffee Group is an Atlanta-based coffee company started by ATL native Ricardo Richardson, who then brought on two of his childhood friends to bring the vision to light in an industry where Ricardo didn't see a lot of minority representation. Staying true to the city that made them, each blend is named after the respective neighborhood that they grew up in: Decatur, Fourth Ward, and West End.
2 Bros Coffee Co. of Dallas, Texas offers the freshest gourmet coffee by the pound or in convenient K-Cup packs. Another specialty of theirs is CBD-infused coffee that can be delivered right to your door.
Signature Blends by KF
2020 has come with a lot of surprises, and one of them was discovering that Kim Fields has her own brand of coffee. Yes, thee Kim Fields! Based out of Atlanta, Signature Blends by KF has been putting out quality coffee, teas, dry rubs, and other beverage-related products since 2017. So, order a bag of a medium roast, and get some sweet and savory dry rub for your steak while you're at it.
Dating back to 1999, BD Imports has strived to not only provide high quality coffee, but also champion women's empowerment and gender equality. They offer three blends of coffee beans, and both decaf and caffeinated coffee pods.
Dope Coffee is what you'll find at the intersection of premium coffee and black culture. Founder and CEO Mike Loyd aims to show that Black people and Black culture should be seen in every aspect of coffee culture. Along with coffee, the brand also sells coffee-infused syrup, body scrub, and beard and scalp syrup.
CariBBrew is a Black women-founded and -owned coffee company providing coffee beans straight from Haiti. Though natural catastrophes that impacted the island slowed down the company's production, they continue to work in partnership with small scale coffee farmers in Haiti to grow the best quality beans, while also creating long-term, sustainable jobs on the island.
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Robin D. Thomas is a brunch loving, Brooklyn born and raised Licensed Social Worker currently working in the Bronx. When she's not writing about all things wellness, entertainment and love, you can find her eating her way through different cities and tending to her plants. Connect with her on IG and Twitter at @_MissRobin or on her Instagram wellness page @thisnoirethat.
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
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History was made in more ways than one at the 66th Grammy Awards. One of the biggest highlights was Tyla accepting the first-ever award for African Music Performance for her hit song "Water." The melodic masterpiece, which took over our TikTok feeds back in August of 2023, has proved to be much more than a trend—last night earning a solidified spot in history.
The #TylaWaterChallenge was undoubtedly one the most popular dance trends sweeping social media in 2023, with dance icons like Ciara even joining in on the fun. The viral craze would later earn Tyla a performance spot at the coveted "New Years Rockin' Eve" in Times Square, with the new artist only releasing the song less than five months prior.
Tyla Makes History at the 66th Grammy AwardsPhoto by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
The South African songstress was up against stiff competition, including Afrobeats superstars Burna Boy and Davido, for the history-making African Music Performance award. The honor marked the Grammy's first acknowledgment of African music and Afrobeats after 66 years of existence. To say the least, it was a moment the superstars and their predecessors had worked extremely hard for.
xoNecole spoke to Tyla after the historic win in the Grammys media room. "Afrobeats has already started booming all over the world, which I'm so happy about," she said. "It's about time." She continued, "I just feel like this is going to open so many more doors for us back home and introduce our music and our culture to so many more people, which we've been wanting." She concluded by thanking The Recording Academy for giving African music the platform.
Tyla's self-titled debut album is slated for release in March of 2024, and she's already earned her first Grammy to set the tone. To say Tyla's "future is so bright that we need sunglasses" would be an understatement.
Congratulations, Tyla! This is truly a moment Africa will never forget.
Tyla On Her History-Making Grammy Winyoutu.be
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Feature image by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for The Recording Academy