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Flava Cafe gives young women of color a space to ‘espresso’ themselves

Updated: Apr 17

Coffee is a daily ritual for many, but at Flava Cafe in St. Paul it’s also a key to change for young women of color. Flava Cafe equips young women with tools for the real world while providing a safe space for them to express their full identities.

“I was inspired to open Flava cafe because of my own experiences in coffee shops,” said owner Shaunie Grigsby, “and really wanting to find a place that felt like it represented me. But also I just love coffee.”

Shaunie Grigsby opened Flava Cafe with a mission in mind: to serve rich coffee, bold food, and inviting service while erasing disparities young black women face everyday in the workplace.

“I aim for it to be not only a welcoming place for young people, but also a place where young people feel like they can be all of who they are,” Grigsby explained. “I think it creates a healthy kind of foundation for young women of color, when they have that experience of working in an environment that seeks to intentionally protect their safety and identity.”

Women - especially Black women - experience workplace microaggressions at a higher rate than men according to a diversity study done by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. At Flava Cafe identity, expression, and conquering stereotypes is what creates the cozy, confident, and safe ambience that is held within the cafe.

“Sometimes in homes, you're not safe and then in work environments you’re not safe, and not just from physical harm, but like verbal harm as well with certain language that's used - microaggressions and things like that,” said Grigsby. “Our Black girls and all women of color go through alot and that's why I think it's important for them to have at least a safe space.”

Flava Cafe is located at 623 University Ave W in St. Paul.

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