Created by the progressive Prague roasting and retail company Mamacoffee (styled “mamacoffee”), a new cafe and community center in the Czech Republic is providing a welcoming space and jobs to Ukrainians seeking refuge.
Named Background, the cafe opened three weeks ago following a quick-turnaround buildout in a historic baroque house in Prague’s city center.
In addition to high-quality coffee drinks with freshly roasted coffees from Mamacoffee, Background has launched as a true community center, welcoming Ukrainian refugees, connecting international members of the coffee community, offering barista training to Ukranians and partnering with other Czech organizations for Czech-language education and programming.
“I am very pleased with what our team has achieved. Involving more than a hundred visitors, training many dozens of people and their very practical integration,” Mamacoffee Co-Founder and Co-Owner Marta Kolská said an announcement shared with DCN. “I have huge respect for the whole team. Thank you, especially, to many women who actively participated in the preparation of the new space.”
Kolská said that some people who underwent barista training for the new cafe have since returned to Ukraine to rebuild their homes and community. Meanwhile, other refugees whose communities have suffered more damage or are experiencing unsafe circumstances have remained at the cafe.
“The Russian War in Ukraine has changed the lives of tens of millions of people,” fellow Mamacoffee Co-Founder and Co-Owner Daniel Kolský said. “Millions of people had to leave their homes and several hundred thousand came to the Czech Republic. We have been working with refugees for many years because we know that all people should be given opportunities and chances. After all, we also have a personal family experience. Both my and Marta’s family have been war refugees. We want to help practically.”
Marta and Daniel founded Mamacoffee in 2007, eventually becoming a leading force in Prague’s contemporary coffee movement while opening five Mamacoffee cafes and two other cafes with partnering brands. After originally focusing exclusively on Ethiopian coffees — which is reflected in the brand’s name given Ethiopia’s status as the genetic birthplace of coffee — the company moved into an expanded roastery in the Strašnice district in 2016 and now offers a range of wholesale services.