Starting from Ground Zero with Coffee and Podcasts

Coffee-focused, community-driven, and African-sourced

Some local companies have been inspirational with their strategic pivots – their agile responses to our ongoing pandemic situation.

When a cultural behemoth like Austin City Limits, for instance, opens its storied stages for rockstar-style weddings for a week, you know someone’s thinking on ninja levels of business improvisation. Meanwhile, other companies in this town are so bold as to begin their journeys right in the midst of this societal and economic upheaval – and Ground Zero is one of those.

Ground Zero was launched on April 12, 2020, “with a purpose to help keep our community motivated in quarantine with East African coffee, educational resources, and empowerment tools while working from home in comfort.”

Check it out: There are no gun-totin’, QAnon-quotin’ agitators here, no one crying about having to wear masks that thwart the spread of what’s filling our hospitals’ Intensive Care Units with suffering and sometimes terminally ill people. There are citizens who understand (as best as anyone can) what’s going on in the world and who choose to meet those challenges with passion and compassion and sense. In this case, the response is based around coffee and podcasts, and damned if those aren’t two of our favorite things already.

So here’s Nathan Araya of Austin and Dagmawi Tesfaye of Dallas with Ground Zero Coffee. “We saw a need for representation and ownership within the coffee retail space for people of color,” says Araya. “We wanted to create new narratives and close the wealth gap within our community. Our business model is centered around a global commitment to improving Black lives and underrepresented communities by providing access to educational resources and empowerment tools through impactful content and programming.”

That last bit, the content and programming, is where the podcasts come in: There’s a series of seven so far, in which each guest, interviewed by the engaging Araya, reveals how they started, explains their creative process, shares stories on their past and ongoing struggles, and provides practical tools for success. Professional counselor Patty Evers, investment director Michael Andeberhan, digital artist Oyin Edogi, and tech guru Ralph Jean-Noel are among the guests imparting this knowledge.

And what you could be drinking while soaking up the helpful spiel is specialty grade and ethically traded Ground Zero coffee – sourced from Ethiopia and the greater East African regions. (We don’t need to tell you that Ethiopia is where coffee came from in the first place, right? Not due to some goat-herding guy who watched his bovine charges get all frisky after eating certain berries, as in the apocryphal tale, necessarily; but, yes, geographically, that particular East African country is where the world’s favorite imbibable rocket fuel originated.)

We already told you about a few other companies in this town that offer coffee subscriptions, and Ground Zero does that, too. Or you could just get yourself a single bag of java, and – oh, look, here’s another link to their website. So, you take the initiative here, coffee-lover – explore and enjoy!

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