The idea for Kahawa Roasting Company was born in a pandemic. My family and I had just returned from a year of traveling that had been cut short because of Covid-19. While sitting in quarantine a friend reached out to me with an idea.
This friend and his wife are the directors of a local organization called Salem for Refugees. Salem For Refugees is a network of community members who are committed to empowering refugees to thrive in our hometown of Salem. The idea was to start a coffee roasting business that works with local refugees. The roastery would offer employment and also transitional skills where needed. English language classes, job skills, and other support would be offered to all employees through partnerships with local agencies.
We jumped on the idea of starting a roastery. We love coffee culture and during our travels we toured coffee farms. We have been very interested in working with our refugee community, so this was a perfect fit.
Over the next few months we built and developed Kahawa Roasting Company. Kahawa is coffee in Swahili. The Swahili language is commonly used in East Africa where much of the coffee in the world is grown. It felt like a good fit.
Our mission is to produce and sell exceptional coffee as a vehicle to connect with our new refugee neighbors and help them transition to our community. Our end goal is to develop entrepreneurs and grow refugee owned businesses in our community.