Rising Star Roaster Kinani Ahmed of Sextant Coffee Roasters - Biography

San Francisco, CA

May 2016

Ethiopian Kinani Ahmed grew up watching his mother and grandmother performing the daily coff ee ritual—listening to the sound of pestle on mortar, incense fi lling the air, green beans roasting in cast iron pans, and thrice brewed coffee poured from steaming clay kettles. As he observed and eventually participated in this routine, the cultural significance of coffee crystallized. After moving to the States as a pre-med student at the University of San Francisco, coffee became a connection to home and eventually a passionate pursuit.

After graduating, Ahmed jumped directly into the fray in San Francisco, where he owned a coffee shop for years and learned the ropes of the business. He was struck by roasters’ level of control, as opposed to the pan roasting he grew up with, and began studying roasting in earnest. From attending coffee events around town, he realized there were no Ethiopian roasters, which further emboldened him.

Sextant opened in 2014 with an L12 Probat that Ahmed upgraded to the larger UG22 in 2016 (they’re both running side by side in the roastery toward the back of the cafĂ©). Sextant sources globally but focuses on direct-sourced Ethiopian coff ees with Ahmed leveraging family connections and deep friendships to bring brilliant beans to San Francisco. With ambition to expand in the Bay Area and eventually to Addis Ababa, he’s blending his cultural coff ee inheritance with modern techniques and tastes.