It has been said that when a coffee shop opens in a community, a tide of change is coming.
Community and coffee have come together in Atlanta with Nomsa Hampton, a local coffee producer in Southwest Atlanta, leading the conversation with a specialty brand of coffee and a number of community talks over coffee.
Hampton’s company, Nosiike-Grace Koffee, was named after Hampton’s relationship with her beloved grandmother Grace, who Hampton said was the inspiration of not only her own love affair with coffee but also who instilled in Hampton an innate understanding of the importance to strengthen families and communities.
Asked, “What is coffee in Atlanta?”, Hampton laughed, replying, “Coffee in Atlanta is actually pretty exceptional when you talk about the variety of coffee and coffee shops within Atlanta.
“But, while coffee is exceptional in Atlanta, it doesn’t reach into Southwest Atlanta,” she added. “It doesn’t reach into my community. When I wanted to experience a good cup of coffee I had to travel outside my beloved community to do so—hence my why for creating Nosiike-Grace Koffee.”
Hampton, who is a Detroit, Michigan, native, moved to Atlanta to obtain higher education at Morris Brown College. And though she travels back to her hometown often, she said she enjoys Atlanta as home.
While Hampton considers herself a proud founder of an African American-owned coffee company, she also cherishes her roles as a mother, a lover of the universe, a sister, and a full-time public relations practitioner.
Hampton said her main drive is to continue to push herself into entrepreneurship with hopes that Nosiike-Grace will not only grow to become a staple in the community but also thrive in an industry that she hopes will make room for the opening of her own roasting coffeehouse—a welcoming space where families and individuals can come drink coffee, put some roots down and stay for a while for community, conversation, and collaboration.
Though Hampton said she agrees that there exist many myths around coffee within the African-American community, she clarified that coffee means so many things to our community—from the nuances of our black and brown skin to our first encounter of coffee’s aroma and taste upon our morning rising.
When someone sits down with a cup of Nosiike-Grace Koffee, Hampton said he or she will experience the essence of her heartbeat.
In fact, Hampton herself said she enjoys the smooth, rich, diversity in each coffee bean, the high notes of floral scents, as well as the undertone berry.
Starting out with an Ethiopian coffee bean has been extremely important to Nosiike-Grace’s ground-to-cup process. Because Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, Hampton said she thought it best to give her community the best of what she knows.
Upon arrival of her beans here in Atlanta, Hampton roasts her beans to a medium roast that still has bright acidity, full body, and light flavor.
She also offers a med-dark roast—not to be confused with a dark French roast—for all of her coffee enthusiasts. Noiiske-Grace Koffee’s med-dark roast boasts of a chocolate, toffee flavor. It is truly a coffee after her own heart, she said.
Hampton hosts monthly “Koffee Talks” around the city in order to explore the relationship between our community and coffee. During these monthly conversations, Hampton encourages intra-generational conversation to inspire a love for the community, as well as highlight the warmness of family and fellowship.
“The Koffee Talks bring our community in a very inspiring way-—as we know, coffee and conversations have sparked movements around the world,” she said.
While thriving based on the labor of people of color internationally, coffee industries have yet to show the diversity of coffee through their marketing dollars within the African-American community.
Through Hampton’s study of the coffee industry, she said she has found the coffee industry knows the importance coffee is to people of color due of a disconnect with agriculture that African-American do not hold space this industry.
Therefore, inclusion is not a hot topic within the leading coffee companies. Hampton is studying to help change this reality.
Hampton acknowledged some of the challenges she faces as a black woman in the coffee industry, due to a lack of diversity outside of coffee fields. Fortunately, in the age of social media, a viral hashtag, #shesaroaster, has since changed the perception of who can become a coffee bean roaster.