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Black-Owned Oakland Coffee Roaster Announces Big New Headquarters

Red Bay Coffee Roasters is taking over a bank in Fruitvale

Left, Tijan Watt. with Red Bay Coffee Founder Keba Konte, right, in front of a roaster
Left, Tijan Watt. with Red Bay Coffee Founder Keba Konte, right
Patricia Chang

Red Bay Coffee Roasters, one of the country’s few black-owned specialty coffee companies, is moving into a major new headquarters in Fruitvale: A stately former bank at 3136 International Boulevard. It’s just around the corner from the specialty coffee company’s existing Public Roastery production and coffee bar space, and not far from where it all started for founder and CEO Keba Konte, who launched Red Bay out of his Fruitvale home in 2014.

Red Bay’s new headquarters are a three-story, 11,000-square-foot building constructed in 1930. The sizable space will include a cupping lab for coffee tasting, a design studio for Red Bay’s growing team, and the bank vault itself will be repurposed into “a space for community story exchange.”

In its five years so far, Red Bay has made major strides in its mission to promote inclusion and diversity in the world of specialty coffee, a field often criticized for its lack of people of color. It boasts several locations, including a new roasting operation in San Francisco inside bagel bakery and creamery Daily Driver. Red Bay is even at Facebook, where it’s the primary coffee supplier for the company’s Menlo Park headquarters.

The new headquarters of Red Bay Coffee
Red Bay Coffee

“It’s exciting to expand again in our own neighborhood and to partner with more mission-driven companies and sustainable farmers around the world,” Keba Konte said according to a press release shared by the business.

Today, Red Bay started to make their mark on their new headquarters. Local artist Angel Chavez spent the day painting a sign reading “Beautiful Coffee To The People” across the building. When the company put out a call to the community to come watch Chavez painting, it looks like comedian Hannibal Buress obliged. The celebrated actor posed with Konte in front of the new HQ this afternoon.

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