Café Ubuntu


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[C]afé Ubuntu farm and café rests on an eleven-acre stretch of land in rural Maai Mahiu, Kenya; the land is a major tourist route, receiving roughly a million travelers each year. The café was created in response to the high traffic volume, offering travelers modern bathroom facilities, and serving fresh espresso—a rarity outside Nairobi.

Allegro Coffee Company and Whole Foods Market heard about Ubuntu’s vision of creating a rest-stop oasis in this rural but high-traffic area, and decided to help provide resources and manpower to break ground, build, and paint the café. In addition to infrastructure, the Whole Foods/Allegro team has trained the Café Ubuntu team on how to pull the best espresso shots and provide exceptional customer service.

(Photos: courtesy of Allegro Coffee Company.)

The café opened in 2013 in collaboration with Whole Foods Market and Allegro Coffee, and now the coffee is being offered in US Whole Foods stores. Like the African concept of ubuntu or interconnectedness, Café Ubuntu is a blend of four distinctive coffees that join harmoniously to create a cup rich with notes of golden raisin, maple, and fig.

The hope for both the coffee and the physical café is to create opportunities that bring empowerment to local communities in Kenya, through job creation and economic growth. In addition to creating jobs in the community, Café Ubuntu serves as a much-needed health and nutrition resource center for the Rift Valley, provides education to the community about sustainable farming and hosts income-generating supper clubs.

Allegro is also supporting the coffee collaboration with a $10,000 donation to benefit Ubuntu Foundation’s pediatric health and education programs in Kenya. Additionally, ten cents from the purchase of each twelve-ounce bag or pound of bulk Café Ubuntu coffee will be contributed to Ubuntu’s Social Enterprise programs—creating jobs and empowering Kenya communities though craftsmanship, food, and coffee culture.

Café Ubuntu coffee officially launched June 1 in Whole Foods stores.

Watch a film highlighting the story behind building the cafe, and an idea of the history between the two organizations.

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Ellie Bradley

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