Meet Moses Mbai: Kenyan Taking the US Coffee Industry by Storm

  • 5th Generation Coffee CEO Moses Mbai at the Afrimma Awards in October 16, 2019.
    5th Generation Coffee CEO Moses Mbai at the Afrimma Awards in October 16, 2019.
  • When 28-year-old Moses Mbai, chartered his journey into entrepreneurship, he got more than he bargained for with lessons along the way especially when it came to establishing his business in the United States.

    Mbai, founded the 5th Generation Coffee, an online coffee supply company in his current residence in Dallas Well Fort Worth Arlington area in 2018.

    In his second year of business, he was faced with the Covid-19 pandemic that ground many sectors of the American economy to a halt.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, the Texas Southern University Business Management graduate disclosed that despite the gloomy economic outlook, the month of May had been the best for his business.

    Moses Mbai (28), founder of 5th Generation Coffee
    Moses Mbai (28) is the founder of 5th Generation Coffee based in Dallas, Texas in the US.

    In addition to recording additional sales in the coffee products offered on his platform, he launched a new product, coffee soap with different flavours which he says are selling out fast.

    "We just launched our Coffee Soaps which are handcrafted and naturally made with shea butter with organic essential oils on the site and during a pandemic, I kept the faith, and this has been the best month in business. I learned to stay focused and give consumers something that could benefit them at a time like this.

    "We are thankful for all our customers supporting our black-owned small business during this difficult time. We sold out this week. We're restocking our Coffee Soap later this week," he stated.

    5th Generation Coffee's Lemon Coffee Soap that was launched on April 27, 2020
    5th Generation Coffee's Lemon Coffee Soap that was launched on April 27, 2020

    Mbai revealed that even though other coffee brands were already established in the US, he had adopted a unique marketing strategy to ensure he stays in business despite Covid-19.

    "Our customers make orders online via our website, where they can get a variety of products on offer," he noted.

    Narrating how his grandparents inspired the founding of the company, the businessman stated that he sources his produce from his family farm in Kiambu, Kenya.

    "We own a farm in Kiambu, Kenya I would see how hard my family worked on this coffee farm day in and day out. A year or two after graduating from college, I’m sitting a job I hate and realized I wanted more out of my life. I want to be my own boss. I’m tired of being controlled and told what to do in corporate America.

    "As I was drinking coffee the idea hit me. Like a ton of bricks to sell coffee from my company here in the states. It had never been done before, so I decided to take a chance and here I am today," he conveyed.

    Starting with a team of two in the US, Mbai had to travel to Kiambu where he visited the farm and learnt the coffee business so as to be hands-on from the planting to the packaging and shipping.

    Moses Mbai, the CEO of the 5th Generation Coffee during a training in Kenya in 2019.
    Moses Mbai, the CEO of the 5th Generation Coffee during a training in Kenya in 2019.

    "Our coffee farm is Grade A sustainable. Every order is roasted fresh before being mailed out," he added.

    He added that sustainability was an important part of their business model.

    "The majority of our staff is African Americans within this industry there is little to no diversity so that’s something unique about 5G Coffee. We are in a time where people want to support Black Owned Businesses and Small Businesses so that strategy of identifying who we are and really have our customers follow our journey as we grow sets us apart from well-known brands," he disclosed.

    Mbai, who was named The Trailblazer of Dallas at AODI Influencer Ceremony in January describes his normal day as one inspired by prayer before handling his business.

    "On a typical day, I pray first, post my content, pack orders, strategize the next product release. Make sure I’ve done everything on my calendar from the day prior. I speak with my team throughout the day," he disclosed.

    He further addressed misconceptions he's had to overcome as a young black businessman in the US.

    "One thing I've had to fight is that Black-owned businesses don’t value customer service. I pride myself on listening to the customer. Apologizing and fixing issues. Customer service is everything to me and my company," he stated. 

    Moses Mbai, the CEO of 5th Generation on September 24, 2019
    Moses Mbai, the CEO of 5th Generation on September 24, 2019.
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    To any young person thinking of going into business, Mbai advises, "Don’t be afraid to fail. Its. Better to take that chance at 20 than it is at 30. You have so much more freedom and less responsibility when you’re getting older. Believe in yourself more.