BERKELEYSIDE NOSH: Keba 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.” The artist and food entrepreneur 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, Konte 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.
The plan all starts in a small, dimly lit space carved out of the ground floor of a bohemian Victorian home in Fruitvale, where 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