Industrious has launched a new rotating coffee roaster program across its more than 100 locations nationwide as part of the flexible workspace provider’s ongoing effort to support minority-owned businesses through its purchasing. Beginning this fall, a different roaster within the new program will cycle through every region each quarter. Get to know the new coffee roasters below — and follow @IndustriousHQ on Instagram to learn more about them and their coffee.
Friends Aaron Fender and John Onwuchekwa decided to found Portrait Coffee Roasters in an effort to create more opportunities in their neighborhood, Atlanta’s historic West End. The pair teamed up with four other Southwest Atlanta residents to found Portrait Coffee Roasters — and plan to open its first permanent location this fall in the West End’s Lottie Watkins Building. (Watkins was a political activist, businesswoman, and the first African-American woman in Atlanta to become a licensed real estate broker.) In addition to coffee, Portrait Coffee Roasters makes scented candles as well as T-shirts, tote bags, and other gear.
Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson have been best friends since childhood, when they lived on the same block in Gary, Indiana. In 2018 they started what would become the country’s first black-owned, nationally distributed coffee brand, BLK & Bold, in Cezar’s garage in Des Moines, Iowa. Beyond a love of coffee and tea, what pushed them to found the company was a desire to help at-risk youth across the country. Five percent of BLK & Bold’s profits go to partners that help provide kids and teenagers with critical tools, support, and experiences. Beyond Industrious’ kitchens across the country, you can find BLK & Bold’s coffees and teas at Target, Whole Foods, and Amazon.
A love of jazz and travel proved to be the unlikely inspiration for Three Keys Coffee in Houston. Husband-and-wife team Tio and Kenzel Fallen decided to found the roastery after visiting six different coffee-producing regions around the world. While Kenzel enjoyed the opportunity to travel — she’s been to nearly 30 countries to-date — Tio, a mechanical engineer and long-time trumpet player, was drawn to the combination of science and artistry that is integral to roasting coffee. The name Three Keys pays homage to the trumpet, and the duo have enlisted jazz musician and Berklee professor Jarritt Sheel to put together a series of playlists to accompany their roasts.
This artisan roastery is based in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, named for the views it affords of the city. The team ethically sources beans from all over the world, taking care to ensure that each of its brews can be traced back to producers in countries such as Rwanda, Colombia, and Kenya. Beyond its signature dark roast — Midnight Train, named after the historic B&O Railroad — Black Acres Roastery produces a wide range of blends and single-origin roasts, including Old Line Rum Barrel-Aged Coffee, an organic, single estate coffee from the Dominican Republic that’s aged in a Caribbean single malt cask for 70 days.
Photographer and San Francisco-native Keba Konte founded Red Bay Coffee in 2014 after teaching himself to roast beans on YouTube. Although it was his first time roasting, it was not his first foray into the coffee industry. In 2006, he opened Guerilla Café in Berkeley, an artist’s collective and the first coffee shop to serve Blue Bottle Coffee. Six years later, he founded Chasing Lions Café in San Francisco. Today, Red Bay Coffee employs a diverse team featuring many of the groups that too often go unrepresented in the specialty coffee industry, including women, people of color, people with disabilities, and the formerly incarcerated. The roastery produces a range of coffees, apparel, drinkware, and more.