Black-owned roaster Win Win Coffee will soon start brewing in Kensington

The Philly entrepreneurs are building a network of coffee farmers across the African diaspora to build more Black wealth.

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Nikisha Bailey and Matthew Nam

Nikisha Bailey, co-founder and CEO of Win Win Coffee (left) and Matthew Nam, co-founder and operations lead of Win Win Coffee (right). (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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Travelers on their way to the York-Dauphin El station may smell coffee roasting on their morning commute this summer.

At least, that’s what the owners of the Win Win Coffee shop near Kensington Avenue and Jasper Street are hoping – their goal is to be open by Juneteenth.

New York music executive turned coffee CEO Nikisha Bailey said she already purchased the coffee roasting equipment for the new space and is eager to open.

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Win Win’s coffee shop
Win Win’s coffee shop in the Jasper House apartments will be accessible to the public from Hagert Street in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

“I saw this massive boom happening in Philly,” Bailey said. “I wanted to be part of that growth and I just had to put my money where my mouth is. So that’s how I ended up here. Then I just started to lobby my friends to come down to Philly.”

The past five years have been a whirlwind for the Philly born — then later reborn — coffee shop.

In 2014, the cafe was created by a cooperative as W/N W/N Coffee Bar, with an initial location at 10th and Spring Garden. In 2019, it was purchased by Bailey and her business partner Matthew Nam. The pair reopened the Spring Garden cafe, restaurant, bar and music venue for about a year.

“We were really going like 24/7. We wanted to do it all. We were a cafe, a bar, a restaurant, and a venue space. We hosted parties,” Bailey said.

Then it was forcibly closed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. By 2021, the Spring Garden location shut down again.

Since then, the pair have been doing pop-up events and selling online while roasting in a shared New Jersey facility — but Bailey and Nam say they are now ready for their own space.

The 1,600-square-foot ground floor commercial space of the Jasper House apartment complex in Kensington will become not only Win Win Coffee’s roasting facility and stand-alone cafe, but also its headquarters. They expect to hire at least a half a dozen more employees in the coming year.

Nikisha Bailey and Matthew Nam
Nikisha Bailey, co-founder and CEO of Win Win Coffee (left) and Matthew Nam, co-founder and operations lead of Win Win Coffee (right). (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

“I wanted a place for the community,” Bailey said. “To make a new friend, showcase their art, talk about music or just have a great cup of coffee.”

Bailey and Nam have traveled to African countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Rwanda and even Afro-Colombian communities in South America. The goal is to improve the global supply chain for Black farmers looking to sell their coffee beans.

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“Africa is the birthplace of coffee but the people of the African diaspora are not seeing as much revenue,” she said. “I think you don’t really see as many African coffees being highlighted because it’s a little less organized. It takes a lot longer for it to get here, too.”

To change that dynamic, the pair has been brokering deals with grocery chains and big box retailers, while also building an online marketplace for direct fair trade coffee.

“We just did an origin trip in December [2023] and were able to organize 400 Afro-Colombian farmers. Through our [online] platform we’re able to be their first commercial partners in the United States,” said Nam.

Win Win Coffee
Win Win’s Coffee tries to ethically source their coffee and support the communities that supply their beans. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Now they are looking to break into contracting wholesale coffee beans for big institutions. The goal is to secure a big contract — but it’s not easy.

“Philadelphia is full of hospitals and universities. Those are large contracts [and] should be focused on small businesses,” Bailey said. “But sometimes the criteria or the different middlemen that are in the way of you getting there, is a barrier as a small business. That’s something we’ve been navigating.”

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