About Us

Catalyst Trade is an idea, first of all—an idea with conviction to back it: everyone who works in coffee deserves to experience the rewards of their labor through increased quality of life and more equitable profit distribution.

But Catalyst Trade is more than just a conviction. The coffee world is full of well-intended failures. Catalyst Trade is a model of doing business better, a series of systems for keeping promises, a movement of idealists embracing the messy reality of the international coffee system.

We are a community of coffee professionals with a vision: to become the most influential coffee company in the world… and to use that influence for the good of all.

Our story is as much the tale of a beautiful partnership between our three founders, Zelalem Girma Bayou, Michael McIntyre, and Emily McIntyre as it is the chronicle of small business success under challenging circumstances. First connecting during the 2013/14 Ethiopian coffee harvest, the trio dug in and learned the murky ins and outs of the national coffee system with absolute stubbornness and determination. What emerged, over the years of challenges and triumphs, is a dynamic, vertically-integrated coffee importing business that is redefining how specialty coffee is pursued.

We are Ethiopian-American owned, woman-led, and devoted to equality. Our values of Sustainability, Excellence, and Innovation drive us in every facet of our business. And we are changing coffee for the better, forever.


The brand is an exploration of historicity and an expansiveness to match our ambition: to change the world of coffee for the better.


To pay homage to the ageless, fierce history of Ethiopia and to the sun-drenched glory of the coffee we produce. Tikur Anbessa, or the Black Lion of Judah, symbolizes the strength and wisdom we seek to steward.


An exploration of the cornerstones of our philosophy:
long-term thinking, excellence in all things, and innovation.