Tag Archives: Keba Konte

With café, market spot it’s Red Bay Coffee’s moment

Early rendering of the Red Bay coffee shop that will be at Hive in Uptown Oakland. Image: Gensler:NAF Korea
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Red Bay Coffee is on a roll. The socially conscious East Bay roaster is working on opening its first café in Uptown Oakland, having exceeded its $80,000 Kickstarter goal last month — the most successful coffee campaign ever on the crowdfunding site, according to Red Bay founder Keba Konte. Shortly afterwards, the startup emerged victorious in a hotly contested race to be the sole coffee vendor at Berkeley’s downtown farmers market — the place Blue Bottle, now a poster child for third-wave coffee, got its start.

In addition, Red Bay has launched a regular coffee popup on Fridays on the patio at Miss Ollie’s in Swan’s Marketplace, following a guest appearance at the Caribbean soul food spot during a shoot with TV star Anthony Bourdain.

It’s no wonder that Red Bay is busting out of the cozy ‘coffee dojo’ which is the heart of the startup’s operations.

“We’re remodeling now,” Konte said of the workspace which he carved out under his Victorian home in Fruitvale to house the company. “We need to maximize the space until we can get proper location.” … Continue reading »

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Keba Konte: Serving coffee with color, social justice

Keba Konte. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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In a small, dimly lit space carved out of the ground floor of a bohemian Victorian home in Fruitvale, three young men are hard at work roasting, quality-control testing and packaging responsibly sourced coffee beans. This is the “dojo” where Red Bay Coffee Roasters is getting its start, and from where its owner, Keba Konte, hopes to launch nothing short of a social revolution.

For a start, Konte would like to inject some diversity into the primarily white world of third-wave coffee. As he puts it: “The last brown person involved in your coffee is usually the farmer who cultivated the beans.” Konte thinks there’s a need for a different specialty coffee culture — one that isn’t the sole province of “fastidious white hipsters.”

Secondly, and no less importantly, the artist and food entrepreneur hopes to help transform low-wage jobs by rolling out a business model where the workers keep all the profits. The timing is fortuitous, coming as the country is grappling with what should constitute a minimum wage​.

Konte’s concept will be put to the test at the first Red Bay Coffee café that is set to open later this year in a converted shipping container at the emerging mixed-use development known as Hive in Uptown Oakland. … Continue reading »

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Eat Real Lit Fest features Berkeley scribes

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The second annual Eat Real Festival, a three-day showcase of the best of the Bay Area’s street food carts, local growers, artisan beer and wine purveyors, cheese makers, urban homesteaders, and other local food crafters kicks off tomorrow at Jack London Square in downtown Oakland.

The event that promises to “Put the Food Back in Fast,” is the brainchild of Anya Fernald, the executive director of Slow Food Nation, a 2008 gathering of gourmands held in … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Bites: Keba Konte

Keba Konte use
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Each Friday in this space food writer Sarah Henry asks a well-known, up-and-coming, or under-the-radar food aficionado about their favorite tastes in town, preferred food purveyors and other local culinary gems worth sharing.

In 2006, Keba Konte and company took over the space on Shattuck Avenue in North Berkeley which had housed the vegetarian Smokey Joe’s Cafe for three decades, and transformed the slip of a store into the Guerilla Cafe, a nosh spot with a cool artist-activist … Continue reading »

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