No sugar. No cream. Just coffee.
This is the mantra that Bartholomew Jones and his wife, Renata Henderson, use as the nexus of their company, Cxffeeblack. And they’re serving up more than just coffee to the people of Memphis, TN. Their goal is to reclaim the Black history of coffee while using Black culture to reclaim its Black future. Hip-hop is a major part of this reclamation.
While many independent hip-hop artists don’t have full teams and robust offerings, it does not take away from the depth of what they contribute to the art itself. Bartholomew is an independent artist, and he’s approached Cxffeeblack the same way he approaches his art. “We were around for a year without any coffee. We were selling the history and the culture and our perspective on how that culture could look in Black communities before we ever got into selling coffee itself,” he says.
Cxffeeblack found an opportunity to grow in a city undergoing its own evolution. “Memphis is such a beautiful space. There isn’t this energy of competition that you have in larger cities because we got room,” says Jones. Epicenter has been a major part of that collaborative culture by connecting Cxffeeblack to other entrepreneurs and providing access to resources like branding and marketing.
While Epicenter has been critical to Bartholomew’s growth, another key factor goes back to his roots as an independent artist. Being in that creative space allowed him to meet other people who pivoted into entrepreneurship and connect with people in other coffee shops to build relationships, like the one he forged with Cxffeeblack’s roaster, Kenny Baker.
It is no secret that Memphis is known for many great things, and now coffee can be added to that list. Check out more about Bartholomew Jones and the culture being built with Cxffeeblack.
This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Epicenter and We Are Memphis.