One of the leading coffee shops in East Africa, Java House, is due to open its maiden shop in Kigali today.
Java House was initially in Kenya, later expanded to Uganda and have now opened the first Rwanda arm, making a total of 56 branches distributed in three countries.
“We are super excited to be in Rwanda, really thrilled,” Ken Kuguru, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Java House told The New Times in an interview yesterday.
“We are in three countries now, nine cities, 56 branches with 2000 employees. And soon we will open in Tanzania. Why we are here? Rwanda is easy to do business; an ethical environment, clean and well-run and our core values encompass all that – and above all is the integrity element which we have here in Rwanda. That is why we are super excited to be coming to Rwanda,” Kuguru added.
Kuguru said that at Java House Kigali, there are about 50 employees and about 25 of them are Rwandans with the remaining 25 having been outsourced from other regional branches.
“The Rwandans we have here were all trained in Kenya for about three months, they worked in the Kenya branches and now they have comeback,” he said.
He said they are to open other branches around the city in the next 12 months, but first judging from the success of the maiden branch, which is situated at Kigali Heights, just adjacent to the iconic Kigali Convention Centre.
“Carrying” East African coffee to the world
According to Kuguru, his company’s goal is to carry the East African coffee to the rest of the world – but first, to “fill” the regional market, hence explaining a move to expand to all corners of the East African Community.
“We fully recognise that Rwanda has some of the best coffee in the world. In fact, we believe that East Africa has the best coffee in the world, (it is undisputable); so we source our coffee from across East Africa (Rwandan coffee, Ugandan coffee, Kenyan Coffee and Ethiopian coffee).”
Kuguru says that Java House joins the Rwandan market with “great respect” for other established coffee houses however, he says that, “it is how best you package your product and how professional one is that will earn the hearts of coffee lovers.”