Meet Berhanu Wells, the owner of Tougo Coffee in Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood.

“We brew stories” is the motto at Tougo Coffee, where Berhanu has been creating community and coffee since 2007. Customers enjoy top-quality, ethically sourced coffee in a welcoming space where people of all ages gather and connect.

Learn more about Berhanu and Tougo in this week’s Business Spotlight.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

What’s your favorite part about the community your business is in & why?

The city’s diverse population which we serve daily is our favorite part of waking up. Some say Folgers in your cup 😳 we say our people are special and the Coffee, Tea, and other goodies are the toppings.

Being able to serve several communities of Seattle, and Bellevue over the last 16.5 years as the first “Non-white” specialty coffee purveyor has been truly a Blessing.

Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?

Equitable and intentional spending has (to me) never been a thought. Spend at whatever is near you. Now we (I) are intentional with where our $0.2 cents are spent. It’s the BIPOC And LGBTQ+ family businesses that are now thriving and need support more than any large box shop.

I like to know the person(s) lives I’m impacting with my hard-earned $0.2 cents.

As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?

As the Steward of a Tougo Coffee, I can say starting a specialty coffee business in a Historically white male-dominated space was scary. Even though The fruit we know as coffee comes from The Country of Ethiopia, on the continent of Africa. This was not a space operated by folks of color too often, at least not in the “specialty coffee” space.

Not crazy, not strange, just Bold!


What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?

Our Guests know everything about us. We are transparent.

What are some of your favorite local businesses and why?

Plum Bistro for the clean and healthy vegan options.
JuneBaby for the amazing comfort foods that bring you back to grandma’s kitchen (vegetarian options too)
Cupcake Royale for the cupcakes
Métier Brewing because the staff are just amazing people and they offer wonderfully craft beer.
Pho Bac, well because it’s Bomb!

Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your business?

We welcome anyone!

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