As Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country, so too has the call for major corporations to affirm their commitment to combating systemic racism. The deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks at the hands of police in recent months has led to a flurry of corporate pledges to support organizations committed to racial justice and equity and sponsor diversity training for their employees.
Among the corporations vowing to stand with Black people is Starbucks. On June 1, the coffee retailer made its first statement, tweeting it would “stand in solidarity with our Black partners, customers, and communities.” This short tweet was followed by a more in-depth statement committing to support Black Lives Matter and confront bias and racism and be “a part of change.” Starbucks also pledged to donate $1 million to “organizations promoting racial equity and more inclusive and just communities.”
Good stuff, right? That was until Starbucks employees informed Buzzfeed that the company prohibited them from wearing Black Lives Matter attire due to its dress code policy. The same dress code policy that also includes any type of political, religious, or personal accessories or clothing. However, the gag is that employees stated Starbucks made an exception for attire celebrating LGBTQ rights and marriage equality and even issues attire and accessories supporting the cause.
So yeah, people are not too happy with Starbucks right now. I am thinking maybe we should have told them to “pull up and shut up” because now that they have been called out, they are back peddling to clean things up. Starbucks followed up with company shirts supporting the Black Live Matter Movement, claiming that this is the reason they prohibited the attire. However, we aren’t buying it, and some are vowing not to buy their coffee either.
For those who are looking for a Starbucks alternative, we present a list of 11 black-owned coffee businesses that clearly got the quality beans you need to get your coffee fix.
Russell’s Gourmet Coffee focuses on healthy and organic coffees and beverages “that are not only good for you but taste great as well.” The eight-year-old business has operations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Atlanta, GA, and an online shop where you can order from a variety of flavors such as Banana Nut Rum and Bourbon Pecan Torte.
Dorian Bolden founded Beyu Caffe (pronounced be-you) in 2009 “to be the ultimate community gathering place where everyone could “be you.” The cafe is located in Durham, NC, with a Beyu Blue location on the campus of Duke University.
Trez V. Pugh III is the Founder and CEO of Sip & Savor, Inc. which owns and operates high-end coffee houses on the Southside of Chicago. Sip & Savor’s specialty is certified fair trade coffee from around the world which it serves alongside a wide selection of teas, mochas, lattes, and blended drinks.
Doughba Hamilton Caranda-Martin, a world-renowned expert on African herbal medicine, tea, culinary gastronomy, and rare African coffees, is the founder of Serengeti Teas & Spices. The shop is located on 125th street in East Harlem, but those living outside of NYC can visit the online store.
Ranked one of the “50 Coolest Businesses in America” by Business Insider in 2015, Flowerboy Project is a neighborhood cafe and flower shop located in Venice, CA, that also sells skin care products and home decor items.
Located in downtown Inglewood, California, attorneys Amanda-Jane Thomas and Shanita Nicholas established Sip and Sonder in 2017 as “the premier destination for creatives, entrepreneurs, freelancers, curators, and everyone in between to simply exist, grab a cup of coffee, connect, create, and put sonder into action.” Sip and Sonder also sells their coffee beans online.
Third-generation coffee farmer Margaret Nyamumbo started Kahawa 1893 to provide economic opportunities for women in Kenya who provide the majority of labor on coffee farms yet mostly go uncompensated because they don’t own the land.
After working at Seattle’s Best Coffee after high school, Mia Moss knew she wanted to build her career in the coffee industry. Noticing that there weren’t any coffee shops on the east side of Fort Worth, TX, Moss decided to open her own and Black Coffee was born.
Portrait Coffee will be “pouring a new narrative” in West End, Atlanta with its cafe opening this summer. Despite having to postpone the opening of its brick and mortar shop, you can shop Portrait’s specialty roasts and other goods online.
Kenzel and Tio Fallen founded Three Keys Coffee in 2019. The craft coffee roastery is based out of Houston, TX. Be sure to check out their online store to view their impressive coffee offerings. They even curate playlists to listen to as you enjoy one of their coffee roasts.