Espresso, Sneakers, and Nail Art
We talk with Khadijah-Ali Campbell about the inspiration behind @lahacafe and using the Linea Mini in unexpected environments.
Boston’s Laha Café is special. “I really want it to be a representation for Black and Brown women who want spaces in the cafe scene.” The inspiration for her coffee cart stemmed from personal experience. She notes, “For years, on the weekends, I would find myself exploring new cafes, and I never felt included. When I say included, I mean that I never would see a reflection of Black and Brown women barista(s) or owners.”
The idea behind Laha Coffee began as a way for Khadijah to show respect for all the women in her life. Even the name behind this coffee cart is meaningful, with Laha translating to “her” in Arabic. The message goes deeper than respecting women; but also offers a safe space for women of color.
Continuing with Khadijah’s style, she chose a Linea Mini and a mobile cart to showcase her barista skills, and to create a space for others that isn’t confined. This mobility offered her a way to reach more people via various venues instead of a standard brick-and-mortar shop. “Honestly, the essence of mobility was so pleasing. I love the idea of opening when I want or popping up at events or festivals. As a full-time educator, it gives me this flexibility to do what I love without too much to juggle.”
The hope is that one day her mobile coffee cart will be her sole focus.
To Khadijah, coffee is more than a drink. It’s something that brings families together, tying the adults to the children—generations sharing a common experience. Beyond wanting to connect with older family members, her coffee passion was ignited via personal experiences with women around the world running their own cafes. Covid also prompted Khadijah to continue her coffee cart journey, noting, “Then the pandemic hit, and I’ve become more obsessed with the idea of home-style cafes and how I want it to represent in my own mobile cart.”
Khadijah’s choice of the Linea Mini was intentional from the get-go. “I like to say the Linea Mini chose me…” After realizing it could be part of her business (and kitchen setup), she says “…I would take photos of each color and send it in massive group chats asking which best describe my style and that’s how I ended up with my beauty (black with maple and walnut details). I’ve been trying to get new badges to paint them pink!”
Her passion for espresso (and the Linea Mini) has followed her to her dayjob. Beginning as a way to have quality coffee on hand at work, her love for coffee was soon accepted by her workplace. She states, “(This) later turned to supplying my school with lattes for the morning. Legit, it was super fun.”
You can find Khadijah and her mobile cart serving kind words, delicious coffee, fabulous nails, and a personalized experience on the streets of Boston, MA. If you’re in the mood for a treat, try Darlene’s Latte, a drink inspired by her mother consisting of espresso, vanilla syrup, and a touch of habanero sugar. You can easily spot Khadijah serving coffee on the street; she describes herself as, “Being someone who wears a hijab, loves sports, and has dope nails while pouring your latte is unique in itself.” Grab a fun latte and settle in with a cozy conversation at Laha Café.
Find Laha Café on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lahacafe/?hl=en.