Nguyen Coffee Supply, America’s first speciality Vietnamese coffee importer and roaster, has secured $2.6 million in seed funding.
Founder Sahra Nguyen is quite a character. Her website greets you with a video message directly from her and is filled with media endorsements, pictures of Sahra with coffee farmers and statements of the benefits of the Robusta bean over Arabica.
As proud champions of the robusta bean, we at Nguyen Coffee Supply believe that robusta coffee is the future of speciality coffee. When we started, we faced a lot of stigma and pushback from the industry around Vietnamese coffee and robusta beans specifically — but that didn’t stop Founder Sahra Nguyen from carving out our own unique lane.
Instead of just selling Robusta beans, the company sells what it calls the ‘Vietnamese Experience’, a selection of beans along with traditional coffee-making kits.
The funding will support the company’s mission of bringing Vietnamese coffee and robusta beans to the masses as well as expanding distribution and product development.
We’re excited to further our mission to expand the awareness and enjoyment of robusta coffee. As part of that mission, we’re committed to elevating the undervalued but significant coffee industry in Vietnam–the world’s largest producer of robusta. As a first-generation Vietnamese American, building a brand rooted in cultural diversity & inclusion is a major part of my business plan.Founder of Nguyen Coffee Supply, Sahara Nguyen
Funders of the seed round include a diverse group of people — 40% women, 69% Asian-Americans, and 77% people of colour. Among the investors is co-founder of the New York fashion retailer Opening Ceremony, Carol Lim, who stated:
Having been a founder myself, I understand the kind of passion and resilience needed to grow a brand. Within the first five minutes of listening to Sahra, I knew that she has what it takes to not only build a business – but also a community to shape the future of coffee together.Opening Ceremony founder, Carol Lim
Climate change and logistics challenges have put a lot of pressure on Arabica over the last year. The emergence of a powerful Robusta-oriented brand, addressing multiple issues in the coffee sector, including diversity and gender equity, could be excellent timing.