Roaster Feature: Bongo Java Roasting Co.

Bongo Java is a small company located in Nashville, Tennessee that has expanded into five cafes and two wholesale businesses. They are dedicated to supplying organic coffee and 100% of the coffee they offer is Fair Trade and organic. Bongo Java buys directly from small-scale producers at above the Fair Trade price. They believe that regularly visiting their farmers and constantly tasting their coffee leads them to have the highest quality coffee out there. Their silly catch phrase, “We appreciate your addiction”, shows both the humor and humility of the company. At this point you’re probably wondering, where did Bongo begin?

It all started with a single café that Bob Bernstein opened in 1993 in Nashville. After graduating from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Bob reluctantly accepted a job writing for a business paper in Nashville. He eventually realized that he loved the city more than his job, and after three years he quit and opened Bongo Java just before his 30th birthday.

In 1996, Bongo Java got some serious world-wide attention for their Nun Bun, a cinnamon bun that looks remarkably like Mother Theresa. Bongo expanded through a series of accidents and unexpected opportunities like this one, and today they are a collection of businesses with world-wide recognition. The collection of proud Bongo businesses is as follows: Bongo Java is Nashville’s oldest coffeehouse, Fido is a café that is Nashville’s largest buyer of local ingredients, Bongo Java Roasting Company is the only certified organic coffee company in Nashville, Grins Vegetarian Café is Nashville’s oldest vegetarian café, and Hot & Cold is a café that serves coffee and ice cream and takes credit for being the first to dip Las Paletas into Olive & Sinclair chocolate. Quite an impressive list if you ask us!

Today, Bongo Java is still sticking to their roots. They continue to buy directly from small-scale producers, and supply only organic, high-quality coffee to their customers. Bongo Java Roasting Company offers different types of origin coffee from Indonesia, Central and South America, Africa. They also give advice and encouragement to customers who want to start their own small businesses, because they want to give back to the community that has been so loyal and supportive of them. Bongo Java will continue to appreciate our addiction, as well as serve coffee with humor and humility, for many more years to come.

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