Two weeks after the 2016 presidential election, Kiosko started as a $50 donation to United We Dream, a youth-led nonprofit that advocates for immigrant youth and families. For Medina, who had been roasting coffee at home while working as a team coordinator at Airbnb, the election had felt personal.
“My brother is under DACA, my parents are still trying to fix their documentation,” said Medina, who was born in Southern California but grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. “It really hit close to home so that’s the drive behind this whole thing.”
He initially planned to simply donate money to the charity. Instead, he spent the $50 on about 10 pounds of coffee and offered donors a half-pound of roasted coffee in exchange for a $10 donation to United We Dream. Demand quickly tripled and eventually Airbnb wanted Medina to roast 100 pounds for the office each week, forcing Medina out of the house and to North Portland’s Mr. Green Beans, a coffee retailer that offers space for DIY roasting.
“By Airbnb basically setting me up and buying my coffee for the first 45 days, it made it easy for me to get consistently better and better,” Medina said. “But then people kept ordering coffee. We sent out one email to United We Dream, then started getting emails from Texas, New Jersey. At one point all I was doing was shipping coffee.”