This Cape Town-Based Coffee Entrepreneur Wants Everyone In The Coffee Business To Win

Updated on 27 November 2017

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WATCH: Rithen RamlalKahvé Road CEO and founder discusses the philosophy behind their coffee sourcing. 

“We wanted to redefine the consumer coffee experience,” says CEO and founder of Cape Town-based Kahvé Road coffee shop in Claremont, Rithen Ramlal.

What makes them stand out from global brands like Seattle Coffee and Starbucks, and local competitors Mugg & Bean and Fego Cafe is the attention they pay to their coffee beans, says Ramlal.

This includes where the coffee beans are sourced and in particular, the plight of the coffee farmer. Kahvé Road sources certified specialty grade coffees from all around the world, including Ethiopia, Columbia, Guatemala, Brazil, Indonesia, Burundi, Uganda and Malawi among others.

Coffee farmers are the poorest link in the value chain despite the enormous size and continued growth of the global coffee market, with coffee being the second largest traded commodity in the world with approximately 2.3 billion cups consumed per day.

Ramlal, whose company showcased its brand at the African Agri Investment Indaba 2017 held at the Cape Town Convention Centre last week said: “Most of the world’s coffee is imported from tropical countries situated along our planet’s equator belt. In South Africa alone, more than 20 tonnes of coffee is imported each year. The bulk of these countries are economically classified as developing nations, whose farming communities are mostly informal and unregulated. Many people are unaware of the hardships endured by the farmers that actually grow coffee.”

He stated that there is a huge differential between the price consumers pay in coffee shops and supermarkets and the amount received by the actual coffee farmers. Most farmers are selling their coffee at a loss, and relying on subsistence farming to support their families.

“Yes, we pay a premium for our product. We want to give our customers the best coffee beans and to support these economies. This is what we stand for as a business,” says Ramlal.

The Q-grader body that certifies coffee farms and their products also ensures that farmers are remunerated fairly and competitively for the produce. (via African News Agency)

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