Dávila Kafe Goes West: Coffee's Minority Ceiling

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

Mission District, San Francisco, CA
Mission District, San Francisco, CA

It’s up for debate who said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” Some say it was Albert Einstein, and others say it was Benjamin Franklin. Regardless, the lack of diversity I’ve seen in the coffee industry during the past year inspired me to seek out new results, which was a catalyst for my recent trip to Silicon Valley and Seattle. Dávila Kafe's west coast tour underscored the glaring need for change and different results in the coffee industry, particularly in the realm of representation and inclusion.

Alright, so you’re probably wondering what Silicon Valley has to do with a coffee start-up and inclusion. Am I right? Earlier this year a friend of mine asked me if I’d been to what she referred to as “The Valley.” After traveling to over 32 countries, I muttered a breathless “no.” Having been born and raised on the Atlantic coast, where life moves quickly and efficiently, I never felt the urge to “Go West, young man, go west…”. My interests kept me firmly grounded in the east and each time further east starting in the concrete jungle of New York to the world of think tanks in Washington DC, all the way to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.

But, as the founder of a startup that’s largely shaped and driven by technology (e-commerce), a visit to the tech world’s Mecca became more enticing, especially after hearing numerous tales of the Valley’s diversity problem. What I found is that we’ve got a long way to go both in terms of racial divides and the generational gap (More on the generational gap later). Although pledges were made to crack the minority ceiling in the Valley, the lack of diversity in both tech and coffee remain a glaring issue across the board.