Efrem Fesaha, Boon Boona Coffee

The words “boon” and “boona” both translate to coffee in different languages of East Africa, the birthplace of the drink. So when Efrem Fesaha opened a roastery and café in Renton, Boon Boona Coffee seemed like the perfect name for it. Launched with the aim of providing the highest quality coffee, Boon Boona Coffee sources only African coffee, working with African farmers directly. Efrem sees Boon Boona Coffee as the bridge between African specialty coffee and the Northwest, celebrating the East African coffee ceremony and the sense of togetherness coffee fosters.

Since opening Boon Boona Coffee in 2018, Efrem has been a big supporter of the Renton community, particularly minority-owned businesses and the LGBTQIA community. The work of local artists is also showcased in the café, with 100% of the art sales going to the artists themselves.

Knowing the challenges small business owners face, Efrem is especially interested in helping others like him. Home to many minority-owned businesses, downtown Renton has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Boon Boona has been no exception. Business at the café dropped 70% immediately, and staff hours had to be reduced. But Efrem and his team are working hard to adjust, enhancing their online presence, creating a monthly subscription service and offering shipping discounts.

Eager to show his appreciation of his community, Efrem is excited to give back. As part of the Pass It On Project, Boon Boona Coffee is giving free coffee to the doctors and nurses of Valley Medical, the local hospital in Renton. Columbia Bank is picking up the tab. It’s a good way to express gratitude and provide a little pick-me-up to those healthcare workers on the front lines.