Torani is proud to be a partner of Sepia Coffee. Here are a few words from Martell Mason, Sepia’s head roaster and CEO.  

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“My name is Martell Mason and I'm CEO and head roaster at Sepia Coffee - a minority-owned roastery in Detroit. I've spent over a decade working on an academic and professional level in coffee throughout Asia, East Africa and Europe. Pivoting with the pandemic, I returned to the US in 2021 to regroup and saw a gap in a growing yet still underserved coffee community.

Detroit's urban geography is unique because it has two unannexed cities within itself: Hamtramck and Highland Park. I was born and raised in the latter. To date - Highland Park, with a population of 11,500, does not have a single, independent cafe open to the public despite massive development right on its doorstep. With nearly 60% of its population aged between 19-59, and a median household income of $44,000, it is not money that Highland Parkers lack but rather access to goods and services.

Sepia Coffee is championing the narrative that specialty coffee is out of reach to low-income communities. Our mission is to provide communities of color, which disproportionately lack access to quality services, with a safe and inclusive coffee platform. Coffee, like food, brings people together. Gathering for a cup usually involves conversation.  These conversations lead to new ideas and perspectives which can ultimately become seeds to social and economic change. These words have been my driving force as I ensure greater equity, representation and diversity within the coffee industry.

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In less than two years, Sepia Coffee has secured over 30 wholesale accounts with standing orders averaging 100 kg of roasted coffee per month. Q3'23 saw our volume increase nearly 400% YOY as we ramp up production and expand our retail coffee program. 

To meet demand - we are building a new roastery and tasting room on Hamilton Avenue which was once a vital commercial vein in the City of Highland Park. Our development will not only bring great coffee and people to the city but it will help revitalize an underdeveloped neighborhood while bringing much needed jobs and tax dollars to the community. With a total budget of $195,000, Phase One of our build out includes purchasing and rehabbing a 950 sq ft commercial building, upgrading our Stronghold roasting machine from the S7 to the S9 and adding a weekend cafe/espresso bar to the front end of the roasting facility. By Summer 2027, Phase Two of our development will commence - adding a stand alone brick-and-mortar cafe on an adjacent parcel of land.

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In August 2023, we called on our coffee community for support. So far, we have raised $95,200 on Wefunder, an SEC-regulated investment platform. And we are proud to announce that we were just awarded a $10,000 grant from Torani!

Since their beginning, Torani has believed everything starts with people and they continue to find ways to help their partners and communities thrive. Living true to their value of "Flavor for All, Opportunity for All" - our mission to make specialty coffee more accessible to underserved communities here in Detroit resonated with the team and we are grateful for their support.

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We need to raise an additional $90,000 to reach the finish line and are calling on our global coffee community to be a part of social, economic and sustainable change.

You can learn more about our Wefunder revenue-share investment campaign here

And follow our journey via Instagram: @scpdetroit

Thank you.

- Martell”