Coffee has a long history in Africa, and up to 80% of the country’s coffee production is carried out by women. However, the workers are not compensated fairly and Margaret Nyamumbo is looking to change this! She founded Kahawa 1893 and pitched her business on Shark Tank. As of 2024, Kahawa 1893 is worth an estimated $5 million.
About the Founder
Margaret Nyamumbo is a Kenyan native who witnessed her grandfather start a coffee farm during the colonial era. Her grandfather was one of the first native farmers allowed to grow coffee by British settlers. In 2007, she moved to the US and got an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Not long after earning her bachelor’s degree, she worked on Wall Street at an investment bank. Nyamumbo got her entrepreneurial drive there when she struggled to find authentic Kenyan coffee and worked with companies like Starbucks and Nestle.
She researched how these massive beverage corporations launched and discovered that many of them get raw materials from Africa. Eventually, Margaret returned to Kenya and worked at the World Bank. This position helped her understand the African market better.
Founding Kahawa 1893
Nyamumbo concluded that African farmers and international firms were not directly connected. Because of this, the fact that 90% of African coffee producers were women, who did not own any piece of land, was not given enough attention.
This led her to quit her high-paying job, find a mentor, and start a coffee company. She chose to promote Kenyan coffee, which grows in volcanic soil and goes through a procedure called double fermentation to produce a unique flavor.
In 2017, she made history by launching Kahawa 1893. “Kahawa” means coffee in Margaret’s mother tongue, Swahili, while 1893 is the year that coffee was first commercialized in her home country.
Getting on Shark Tank
Kahawa 1893 was the first Black woman-owned coffee line to get into Trader Joe’s. It also gained a reputation for donating a portion of its revenue to female coffee workers in Africa.
More established retail chains took the startup in as time went by. This helped the company gain massive media recognition and got covered by publications like Forbes, TastingTable, and the New York Magazine.
To expand operations, Margaret Nyamumbo needed to raise more capital and was keen to bring on a Shark.
She got a spot on episode 14 of season 14 and delivered a passionate pitch in colorful attire. Margaret came across as a very genuine person and had a great personality. It was refreshing to see an entrepreneur not just looking to make a profit. Despite this, she came in with a valuation of $7 million!
After Shark Tank
Although the episode has just aired, the publicity will drive a huge boost in sales for Kahawa 1893. On social media fans of the show loved the entrepreneur’s passion! Appearing on Shark Tank alone is like a million dollar advertisement and should help drive at least $100,000 in sales.
If you are interested in buying one of their 14 products, Kahawa 1893 are available in Sprouts,Trader Joe’s, Target and The Fresh Market. Also, when you buy in-store, you can scan a QR code and send a tip directly to a farmer’s e-wallet.
The coffee brand is now sold in over 750 locations across the US with most of them located in California. They can be bought online through Amazon and their website, Kahawa1893.com. The company offers a subscription that will help loyal customers save 10% on each order.
Their bestselling product on Amazon is the Kenyan Single Origin blend, which has an average star rating of 4.8 from 12 customers. The business is currently worth an estimated $5 million.