If you have at all been plugged into specialty coffee in the last half decade, you have no doubt heard of Michelle Johnson, also known as The Chocolate Barista. With over a decade in the industry, Johnson has worked for coffee companies around the world, hosted Black Coffee events, given talks at Re:Co, and in 2020 made history as the first Black woman to make it to the national level of the US Barista Championship. Her work with The Chocolate Barista—which began its life as a blog in 2016—focuses on cultivating diversity, inclusion, and racial equity at every level of specialty coffee.

And The Chocolate Barista needs your help. As The Chocolate Barista continues its mission, now as a business as opposed to a blog, Johnson has created a GoFundMe to help keep the brand afloat while the company gains its footing.

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Going from a blog to a full-blown business entity means new expenses. TCB has grown to a staff of three (including No Free Refills podcast host Ezra Baker and Glitter Cat’s Eric Grimm), they have creative contributors to pay, and there are website and administrative costs associated. In order to lengthen the runway and help ensure a more successful brand launch—and to do so ad-free—Johnson is hoping to raise $100,000 via GoFundMe. These funds will allow TCB to pay staff, cover admin costs, and create new content to help promote more diversity in the specialty coffee industry.

Currently, the GoFundMe has raise around $3,500. If you are able to, please give to help keep The Chocolate Barista a viable resource for the entire specialty coffee industry. If you aren’t able to support TCB financially, consider sharing the crowdfunding campaign with your social media networks to help spread the word. For more information, visit The Chocolate Barista’s GoFundMe page.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

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