Ethiopian leading coffee chain Tomoca Coffee opens outlet in Kenya

KENYA – Tomoca Coffee, one of the leading coffee brands in Ethiopia with a chain of coffee houses has entered the Kenyan market by opening an outlet in the country’s capital, Nairobi, indicated the company on a twitter post.

Tomoca Coffee is a family-owned coffee company based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was established in February 1953. The company is known for its Italian-style coffee, made with Ethiopian Arabica beans.

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It is also a member of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX)] and it exports its coffee to Sweden, Germany, USA, Japan and other countries.

Being the first outlet by the leading coffee house outside its original country of Ethiopia, it is located at the Two Rivers Mall, where it is set to serve its unique Ethiopian coffees to discerning clientele from leading embassies and consulates, including the United Nations staff.

The new location is set to provide in-shop roasting and a packaging facility alongside a coffee drink service area spread over a footprint of 250Sqm, reports Addis Fortune.

The new coffee chain, which has taken on 20 Kenyan employees, will source its coffee beans from Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda, with a focus on single-origin blends of the house specialty.

The coffee shop, which will officially open its doors July 1st, will showcase Ethiopian products on its shelves such as honey, leather and textile products.

“Currently, we’re just having a soft opening for testing a few employees and handing out a visiting invitation,” said Wondwossen Z. Meshesha, chief global operations officer of Tomoca Coffee.

In addition to the newly opened outlet, Tomoca is set to open two additional Kenyan shops that will provide coffee drink services only. The new coffee shops, which will both have a size of 100Sqm, are currently under construction.

“Kenya has a very young and dynamic population with a wide consumer base that demands high-quality products and services. As part of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) community, it is also a great benefit for us to venture out first within the East African community before elsewhere,” said Wondwossen.

Tomoca Coffee has chosen a joint partnership with a local investor for its new venture rather than the franchise model of expansion.

With a new strategy, the coffee chain plans to expand aggressively within the continent in the next 10 years, aiming at a minimum of 250 shops.

Currently, the coffee shop is setting up a new state-of-the-art coffee factory with an investment of US$10 million to pursue a value-added roasted coffee for the international market.

The new coffee factory, which is awaiting the installation of machinery after taking close to two years for construction, is expected to employ over 100 employees. 

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Tomaco enters the Kenyan market with already leading brands like Café Espresso, Café Arabika, Artcaffe, Java House, Gibsons Coffee House, South African coffee chain Mugg & Bean, among many others.

Kenya is a coffee growing country, exporting one of the best quality Arabica produce to the world with the sector contributing to the livelihoods of over 700,000 smallholder growers, according to the Coffee Directorate.

However, until recently, consumption of the drink was low with data from the Coffee Directorate showing local intake of the drink has risen exponentially in the last decade.

According to the directorate, local consumption stood at 8,498 60kg bags (509.90 metric tonnes) in 2009, rising over the years to stand at 12,405 bags (744 metric tonnes) in 2014 and in 2018 it topped 18,396 bags (1,103.76 metric tonnes).

Kenyans have certainly woken up and smelled the coffee, with citizens flocking coffee outlets in droves creating a fast-rising coffee drinking culture.

In Ethiopia, the home of Tomoca Coffee, the citizens are substantial drinkers of the beverage with almost half of the country’s production being locally consumed.

To this regard Ethiopia is the leading coffee consuming country in Africa and used as a model for other nations.

According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, Ethiopia’s coffee consumption in the year 2019/20 is forecasted at 3.35 million bags (approximately 201 metric tons) – an increase of 75,000 bags from the 2018/19 estimate.

The report has indicated that the government attempts to lower domestic coffee consumption in order to have more beans for export.

The main reasons for the consumption increase are exportable-grade coffee entering the informal domestic market to take advantage of strong local prices and the increase of small roadside coffee stalls in and around major towns as income generating schemes

These shops serve coffee in the traditional sit-down fashion and have become popular among consumers. But these informal stalls pay neither VAT nor exorbitant rental costs, making their cost of serving coffee relatively lower and more competitive than the regular coffee shops.

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