Of all the coffee roasters that have flourished under the coffee boom, none are more symbolic to the country’s growth than Java House. The Kenya-based roasters started their chain of coffee shops more than ten years ago, when coffee still wasn’t a popular drink choice, especially outside of the home. In America at that time, chains like Starbucks were rapidly expanding their empires, popping up on city blocks and in shopping centers everywhere you looked. But in Kenya, the introduction of coffee shops brought something more than just coffee to the culture—it was a place to spend time with friends or discuss business in a way that didn’t exist before. “Coffeehouses also serve as relaxed hangouts for the cosmopolitan urban populace,” says Nderitu, “plus the free Wi-Fi attracts professionals looking for a workspace away from their office environment.” As the job market evolved, and more and more Kenyans were finding less conventional work opportunities, they turned to places like Java House to meet and work. The coffee itself evolved as well: “Previously, the coffee consumed locally was not refined or flavored,” explains Nderitu, which is another reason why it was less desirable to locals, who were interested in the flavored lattes and custom concoctions available elsewhere. Since the early 2000s, the company has been able to transform itself into a multimillion-dollar business, and it’s effectively changed the way that Kenyans think about and drink coffee.