Kenya’s Java House to start exporting coffee and tea to China

Kenyan coffee chain Java House Africa has announced a deal that would see it export coffee and tea to Chinese online retail company, Green Chain, a subsidiary company owned by C.J. Smart Cargo International.

Paul Smith Java House’s chief executive said the new agreement will see the company export up to 15 tons of Kenya AA Arabic coffee (575 grams bag) and Gold Label Tea to China every month through Green Chain.

Founded in 1999 by Kevin Ashley and Jon Wagner, Java House introduced coffee drinking and gourmet café culture to Kenya and has continued to grow, with 60 stores to its name across 10 cities in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda following an investment that saw Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) acquire a 90 percent stake in the company.

In February, two American private equity funds bid as much as $100 million (Sh10 billion) to acquire Java House. However, the growth markets fund Abraaj Group won the bid and acquired the company.

According to Reuters, Abraaj, stated that it had plans to double the coffee chain’s outlet numbers in Kenya over the next two years before expanding to East Africa and beyond. The agreement with Green Chain has already given it a leg in China.

Java House’s expansion plan is beyond China, as it is looking to spread Asia-wide. The coffee chain already exports its macadamia nuts to China and aims to use high-quality agricultural produce to penetrate other parts of Asia.

In 2017, Java House Group launched Planet Yogurt, the region’s first self-service frozen yoghurt chain, and the pizzeria outlet, 360 Degrees. The company currently employs over 2,000 people and serves more than 320,000 diners monthly.