Keba Konte, a renowned artist and successful food entrepreneur with deep roots in the specialty coffee and hospitality industry, founded Red Bay Coffee Roasters in 2014.
The idea came from his time as a San Francisco artist’s collective that opened Guerilla Cafe in Northern Berkeley. They held art shows and were the first to serve Blue Bottle Coffee. At the time, Konte was a novice when it came to coffee.
He soon grew uncomfortable with the colonial undertones of the specialty coffee industry after opening Chasing Lions. He began noticing that the farmers, primarily people of color, did the majority of the labor yet received minuscule pay, while young, white hipsters owned the roasters and coffee shops.
So, he left the collective and built a “garden room” off his garage in Oakland and taught himself how to roast coffee beans with YouTube videos. A year and a half later, in early 2014, he founded Red Bay Coffee.
From there, Konte’s vision became the forefront of the fourth wave of coffee—a firm commitment to ensuring coffee production is not only high quality and sustainable but a vehicle for diversity, inclusion, social and economic restoration, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability.
Since then, Red Bay Coffee has been hiring and serving people from all backgrounds, striving to be inclusive and diverse of those traditionally left out of the specialty coffee industry, particularly people of color, formerly incarcerated individuals, women, and individuals with disabilities.
Their commitment to underserved communities has allowed people to find a home in Red Bay Coffee. When the pandemic hit in 2020, the coffee shop was able to stay alive through “Buy Local” and “Buy Black” initiatives.
It shows that the company is much bigger than the coffee it serves. It is a sober environment where people can gather, exchange ideas, and connect with the community.
8th Anniversary Special Blend
How are they celebrating this incredible milestone? By offering a Limited Release Special Edition Bag of Anniversary Special coffee designed especially for their anniversary. This bag is only available until the end of February.
This roast blends fruits-forward Guatemalan and Burundi coffees to deliver a bright, fruity cup with a rich, warm body and chocolate-cherry notes.