Today I am enjoying some phenomenal coffee with Khadija Beye, the founder of the specialty coffee brand Café Touba, also known as the liquid magic! She has such an interesting story and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Discover the newest flavor of Senegal brought to you by Café Touba Coffee Roasters – Interview with Khadija Beye by Dino Alexander – Photography by Maxwell Alexander, Duncan Avenue Studios
Dino: What exactly is Café Touba? I am assuming it’s not just regular coffee.
Khadija: Café Touba is Senegal’s best-kept secret. “It’s not just coffee” for sure. The coffee tells a beautiful story of resilience. Café Touba originated from the Mouride Brotherhood which is an order of Sufi Muslims based in the holy city of Touba. Upon returning to Senegal from exile in Gabon for his resistance to the French colonial occupation in Senegal, the city’s founder and spiritual leader Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba drank coffee daily, especially before prayers, and always with a bit of Selim pepper and cloves mixed in. In this way, “Café Touba” began as a sacred drink for the Mourides. Originally, the leader gave specific instructions on how to brew his Café Touba, noting that prayers should be recited before and after preparation. To this day, Senegalese drink Café Touba every day for its great medicinal benefits. It’s delicious and I’ve been drinking it since I was a kid back in Senegal.
Dino: When and how did you decide to start this business adventure?
Khadija: Café Touba is an idea I’ve been mulling over for years. It wasn’t until the lockdown last year, that I decided to start my business. I found myself out of a job. I sat in my apartment day after day super bored, anxious, and missing my family back in Africa. Days felt the same and staying home 24/7 felt like the new normal. The one thing I looked forward to was making my cup of Cafe Touba every morning. It reminded me of home and almost instantly made me feel better. One morning, I said to myself, “ wait a minute… I love this coffee, and coffee lovers would appreciate this. I should start a business!” and so I did.
Dino: Your brand and product presentation are so polished! What would you say was the most challenging milestone in starting your business?
Khadija: As a Sagittarius, I am naturally persistent and meticulous. I knew that if I was starting a business it wouldn’t just be some half a$$ed Instagram business, so I got started putting my ideas on paper. The first thing I worked on was our logo. That was stressful because I had a very specific idea in my mind and not everyone was able to bring it to life. Finally, after months of working with different graphic designers, I got my perfect logo. I wanted a logo that spoke to my spirituality tied with the ancient history of coffee. As for packaging, I did a lot of research on innovative packaging methods. My main focus was on creating a product that I was proud of, could stand behind, and actually loved so much.
Dino: You mentioned it’s no ordinary coffee. Tell us more about the benefits and other qualities of Café Touba?
Khadija: What makes our coffee unique is that Café Touba is healing. Our coffee is made from 100% organic arabica beans roasted with grains of Selim and a bit of clove. The study also shows that regular consumption of Selim grains is great for the treatment of infectious ailments such as cold, cough, and flu. The properties of coffee combined with the benefits of Selim grains also provide a great alley for digestion, respiratory issues, and pain relief. Café Touba is naturally high in caffeine, creating an instant vibrational ascension. It stimulates the production of endorphins, functioning as a natural antidepressant, anti-allergen, and aphrodisiac! Now more than ever, when we are all faced with a world that seems unrecognizable, we must take care of our health and wellness. A healthy immune system starts with a simple daily routine. Start with a delicious offering from Senegal.* https://www.publichealth.
Dino: What does Café Touba taste like? How would you describe it?
Khadija: Have you ever had coffee that reminded you of Whiskey? Well Café Touba might be it. Our coffee is roasted in Senegal with cedar and mesquite wood. This gives the coffee bean a peaty, earthy flavor. The grains of Selim bring the spice giving a nice slow burn. Altogether, the coffee smells like aromatic magic with a taste of heaven on earth.
Dino: Where can we find it? Do you sell it in stores or online?
Khadija: We carry our coffee online. We’ve also been having tons of success doing pop-up shops on the weekends. Be sure to follow our Instagram @toubacafe to get updates on where we’ll be next.
Dino: Can you share some feature projects or new products in the works? Anything exciting from Café Touba we can look forward to?
Khadija: We now carry Café Touba beans! This way you can select your grind size for your perfect brew. We are also looking to upscale our packaging size.
This was a very delicious interview, literally. Thank you for sharing your story and the story of Café Touba, and thank you for making it possible for more people to appreciate the sacred culture and medicinal benefits of Senegal’s best-kept secret!