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Origin Story: Kahwa Coffee Roasters [Audio 53:27]

Joe Hamilton



Press the play triangle above to listen to the Kahwa Coffee Roasters Origin Story

Raphael Perrier met his wife Sarah in a Philadelphia coffee shop. At the time, she was a professional dancer. He had just graduated from Temple University and took a job in La Colombe Coffee Roaster’s first location to avoid working for a big corporation. She wasn’t a coffee drinker, but became one while visiting Raphael “very often” at La Colombe, and enjoying the hearts he made in her latte foam as much as the drink itself.  She would later become Kahwa’s first coffee roaster. 

Raphael held most positions at La Colombe. He started in the shop as a cashier and then a barista. When he became bored, the owners moved him over to the business side where he learned roasting, and sold millions of dollars worth of coffee. 

Eventually it was time to strike out on his own. Raphael started a successful nightclub and ran it until the 6 a.m. “daily” finishing time became too incompatible with the family life the Perriers sought to grow into. With money from the sale of the club and no restrictions on their next move, the couple moved to St Petersburg, where Sarah spent most of her childhood. 

After a false start trying to acquire the restaurant and bar in the Ponce de Leon hotel, Kahwa was born. Life since has been a an exercise in working hard, having fun, avoiding boredom and being in love.

In this Origin Story, you’ll hear the whole story directly from the founders. Press the play triangle above to listen to the episode.  

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  1. Avatar

    Georgia Earp

    May 15, 2023at3:24 pm

    Kahwa coffee is the best!

  2. Avatar

    Steve McAuliffe

    May 14, 2023at9:44 am

    Outstanding interview and story… flowed beautifully, thanks to an informed moderator and St Pete’s fascinating Sarah and Raphael Perrier.

    Can’t wait for Kahwa’s next chapter. BTW, it’s the only coffee I buy, either retail or online.

    Thank you!

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