The Weeknd is connecting with his Ethiopian roots and honoring his family with his new Samra Origins coffee brand and product line in partnership with Blue Bottle Coffee, which was announced Wednesday (May 3).
Named after his mother Samra, Samra Origins pays homage to the Canadian-Ethiopian singer’s heritage and motherland’s standing as the birthplace of coffee. The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) and Samra developed the first Samra Origins blend with Blue Bottle’s head of innovation & quality, Benjamin Brewer. Brewer selected some of Ethiopia’s best coffees to craft three blend variations, which The Weeknd and Samra tasted before selecting the offering most similar to the coffee Samra brews at home. Blue Bottle then worked with The Weeknd to carefully fine tune the blend and create a distinct flavor profile, which not only captures classic notes of fresh fruit and bright florals but upholds centuries of traditions originated and perfected by Ethiopian coffee farmers.
“Ethiopian culture is an important part of my identity and I’m proud to work alongside the Blue Bottle Coffee team to shine a light on Ethiopian traditions, values, and of course, coffee,” said The Weeknd in a press release. “Growing up, I watched my mother perform Buna Tetu, a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. This sensory experience helped shape my understanding of community and taught me to always honor my roots.”
In an exclusive statement to Billboard, he added: “Samra Origins is a true passion project of mine that Blue Bottle matched and understood as we developed the products together. I hope the result ignites curiosity about Ethiopia’s people and motivates others to give back to communities in need.”
And to honor The Weeknd’s philanthropic efforts, Blue Bottle Coffee will donate to his XO Humanitarian Fund, which he launched in March 2022 alongside the United Nations World Food Programme. Since its launch last spring, the XO Humanitarian Fund has raised and pledged $5 million to provide food and support to millions of people experiencing hunger across the globe.
“We are grateful to have The Weeknd and Blue Bottle Coffee’s steadfast support as we work to feed families in hunger hotspots worldwide,” said Barron Segar, president and CEO of World Food Program USA, in a statement. “Private sector partners like Blue Bottle Coffee are critical in generating both public awareness and funding to save the 43 million people on the brink of starvation across 51 countries.”
Samra Origins will launch this month with a limited release of Exceedingly Rare Ethiopia Wolde Faye Koricha COE #7, which anyone can purchase for $65 (per 100g tin) exclusively online at samraorigins.com. Starting Wednesday, Blue Bottle guests can sign up for the online waitlist to be the first to know when Samra Origins officially drops next Tuesday, May 9.
“Ethiopian coffee is truly in a class of its own and the country holds a special place within our Blue Bottle community,” said Karl Strovink, CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee, in the release. “Since Blue Bottle Coffee’s inception in 2002, we’ve sourced coffee from Ethiopia. In 2023, Ethiopia is still consistently among our top origins by volume. I’m excited that we’re extending our commitment there with Samra Origins so we can continue to share the best of Ethiopian coffee and support our network of producers in the country.”