CoffeePLUG: A New Digital Platform Revolutionizing Coffee Sourcing and Promoting Equity

Nikisha Bailey and Matt NamSubmitted Image

PHILADELPHIA, PA — In a bid to connect coffee farmers in the African diaspora with buyers, Philadelphia-based Win Win Coffee, a Black-owned business, is piloting its new digital platform, CoffeePLUG. Brainchild of business partners, Matthew Nam and Nikisha Bailey, CoffeePLUG is poised to redefine coffee sourcing, making it faster, affordable, streamlined and more equitable for black and brown farmers.

Nam and Bailey embarked on the development of this platform after their physical store was forced to shutter during the COVID-19 pandemic. They ventured into starting a coffee roasting brand and decided to source the beans themselves. This led them to encounter several challenges, including a lack of pricing guidelines, delays in order delivery, and underpayment of farmers due to a congested supply chain. Nam, leveraging his expertise from the health tech industry, joined forces with Bailey, agro scientists from Ghana, and engineers from the University of Pennsylvania to create CoffeePLUG.

Targeting importers, roasters, cafes, and several institutions that require regular bulk purchases of either green or roasted beans, CoffeePLUG charges a logistics and coordination fee ranging from 2% to 9%. The more the buyers purchase, the lower the fees. Currently, the platform caters to 400 Afro-Colombian farmers, all of whom have been vetted and their coffee products quality-assured.

According to Bailey, the benefits of CoffeePLUG for both producers and buyers are plentiful. By directly dealing with producers and eliminating middlemen, buyers can save up to 30% or more. The platform automates pricing, setting daily rates based on the commodities exchange, aided by AI-assisted algorithms that allow real-time, dynamic pricing of commodities, risk assessment, and yield prediction. The platform also facilitates direct relationships between buyers and producers.

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CoffeePLUG pays farmers more, courtesy of a collaboration with PayPal. It also aggregates the yield of all participating farmers, thus enabling more consistent purchasing. It even supports in-country commodities processing, allowing for fresher coffee that gets to consumers faster, typically within 2-3 days. In comparison, traditionally, beans might sit in a warehouse for 6-18 months after picking.

The company is presently testing its platform with a school in Alabama, a hospital system in Philadelphia, a cafe, and a restaurant group.

Nam and Bailey strongly believe that CoffeePLUG is a “triple win” for farmers, buyers, and consumers. They see it as a path toward achieving global coffee economy equity, potentially changing the lives of nearly 25 million small farmers worldwide.

To order Win Win coffee, head over to the company’s website.

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