Knowing Your Neighbors: City Girl Coffee

Alafek Coffee Roasters developed a coffee company with a mission to source exclusively from women owned and managed farms and cooperatives.

DULUTH, Minn.- Located on Superior Street in Duluth is Alakef Coffee Roasters.

“I grew up in this my parents started this in 1990. When I came back and expressed interest in taking over the business I didn’t want to just run their company… I wanted to create something that was representative of me and also that allowed our company to continue to kind of move into the next stage of what will come,” said founder Alyza Bohbot.

Looking to reinvent Alakef, Bohbot found herself at a breakfast for the International Women’s Coffee Alliance where she became inspired.

“I heard a gentleman from Colombia tell a story about a husband and wife who owned a farm in Colombia and because Colombia has been so war torn, he actually had to go fight in the war and was unfortunately killed. So the wife took ownership of their farm and when a key piece of machinery broke down she went to the banks of Colombia and asked for a loan and they refused it to her because she was a woman.”

Enter the creation of City Girl Coffee Company.

“We set out on a mission to source exclusively from women owned and managed farms and cooperatives and then we give a portion of our profits directly back to various organizations that actually ensure these women are getting access to financing and education and resources so we can truly help the sustainability of the coffee industry.”

The work done by Alakef’s City Girl Coffee has helped south american cooperatives expand beyond the coffee industry.

“It’s because of roasters like us who support them that now they’re expanding their operation beyond just coffee but they have honey and they’re making jewelry and they’re making clothing and they’re able to provide and help support their families and their community.”

Bohbot says major distributors such as Target and Amazon are excited about this brand because it serves multiple purposes.

“Not only is it great coffee but it’s a mission and a value that they can really get behind. So we’re really excited about how the progression of the business has gone.”

Alakef also strives to establish a connection with the farmers that their coffee is sourced from.

“The hope is that kind of on an annual basis we can at least connect with at least one of these farmers and one of these countries and sort of see where they’re growing and see the coffee before it gets to us. That relationship is invaluable.”

Alakef coffee roasters is open Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. –4:30 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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