Red Bay Coffee: Using Coffee as a Vehicle for Diversity, Inclusion & Much More

February 24, 2021

Red Bay, one of Compass Group’s newest diversity suppliers, brews specialty coffee as a vehicle for diversity, inclusion, social and economic restoration, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability.

Based in Oakland, California, the husband and wife owners take a transformative approach to how they do business. Keba and Rachel Konte prioritize equitable practices that ensure farmers are paid a fair wage and a staffing structure that echoes the heartbeat of the community.

“We’re one of the few that’s black owned, run and operated. 65% of our managers and leaders are women,” said Keba Konte. “We’re hiring those formerly incarcerated, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. This is on purpose. It’s intentional.”

The Kontes launched Red Bay Coffee, named one of Oprah’s favorite things, in 2014 because they wanted to make quality coffee accessible to a broader, more diverse audience and believe it is important for an African American coffee company to thrive. “Coffee is Africa’s gift to the world. It originated in Ethiopia. Coffee is, in a sense, our heritage,” Keba said.

The company that started in their basement had 60 employees and 5 locations in the Bay area, but like many small businesses the pandemic hit them hard. They’ve since hired back more than half of their staff following a surge in online and delivery sales.

Compass Group is excited to be part of Red Bay’s journey, bringing them on as one of its newest Supplier Diversity partners. Ten minority and women-owned suppliers were selected for the inaugural Accelerator Supplier Diversity Program, including Red Bay. With a mission focused on growth, this 12-month program pairs each company with a Foodbuy mentor to position them for continued success.

Learn more about this diverse supplier partner at or tune into Keba’s weekly Podcast, Coffee Dojo, which focuses on the intersection of leadership, culture and creativity, and the bold outliers who are disrupting business as usual.

For a limited time, Tradecraft, a part of Canteen, is offering a 15% invoice credit to new clients who select Red Bay as part of their coffee program. Learn more here.