That's the question I posed at the start of a long journey to gaining more insight into this question.
Thanks to Roast Magazine for supporting this dialogue and helping me tell the stories of several African Americans in coffee.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
"RESEARCH SHOWS that African-Americans are less likely than other ethnic groups in the United States to select coffee as a beverage of choice. Yet coffee’s history links major contributions not only to Africa but the diaspora around the globe. Ethiopia is praised as the birthplace of coffee, and for giving us some of the most prized coffees in the world. African enslavement was the original source of labor for coffee’s production in Brazil, the Caribbean and the West Indies, and farmers of African descent continue to play a key role in its production. So how is it that African-Americans are only loosely connected to this long-standing historical continuum in coffee, finding themselves underrepresented as consumers as well as professionals in the coffee industry? And how can we as an industry bridge this gap?"