Java House

Java House

Company information

Bean machine

Kenya has long been famous for its coffee exports, but the coffee shop culture that its beans have helped to create around the world has struggled to take off in the East African country. Thankfully for the nation’s coffee lovers, Java House is helping to change this. Since 1999, the company has been bringing the coffee shop back home. “When we established Java House in Kenya, there was only an export market for coffee,” says CEO Ken Kuguru. “Through Java, we were able to bring coffee culture to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.”

The company likes to think of itself as offering more than just a welcoming latte or cappuccino, though. “Java House is so much more than just a coffee house,” says Ken. “Our customers tell us they love Java House because it’s a home away from home and an office away from the office. Java House is a place to exchange ideas, a place to laugh and make memories and even a place for a first date with that special someone.”

“Java House is so much more than just a coffee house. It’s a home away from home and an office away from the office”
Ken Kuguru, CEO, Java House

Africa’s growing population and emerging middle class has provided an ideal environment for the business to flourish, helped by the company’s business model. Its resource independence and local supply chain has protected Java House from the economic downturn that has hit many African economies, by insulating the firm from changes in commodities prices.

The company has now branched out beyond coffee, setting up a self-serve frozen yoghurt business called Planet Yogurt and a pizzeria called 360 Degrees Artisan Pizza.

46 Java House branches are run by the company across East Africa

Across its three brands, the firm now has 56 outlets around East Africa, from Mombasa to Kigali. Of those, 46 are Java House branches and the brand is at its strongest in Nairobi, where there are 34 cafés. The goal over the medium term is to substantially expand that footprint. “Our five-year goal is to establish a pan-African presence with 150 stores across the region by 2021,” says Ken. “We are building 15-20 branches per year and expect our base of around 2,000 employees to grow by about 30-40% per year.”