Café Rebelde: Brewing Ethical Coffee, Empowering Communities

Carrisa Vega, Owner of Cafe Rebelde

Written by Itzel Martinez Garcia

July 10, 2023

Café Rebelde is a coffee company committed to changing coffee culture from commercial convenience to compassionate communities. As a woman-owned business, they proactively source high-quality, ethically grown, shade-grown coffee from cooperatives that prioritize environmental preservation. Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cafe Rebelde is a family business that values autonomy and connection with the community. Here’s how HEDCO supported Cafe Rebelde’s sustainability commitment

Founding Values: Passion for Ethical Coffee and Community Support

Carissa Vega is the Co-founder and owner of Cafe Rebelde, and her journey to entrepreneurship was driven by her passion for high-quality coffee and her desire to support independent farmers and cooperatives. Rooted in her culture and childhood memories, Carissa’s deep love for coffee inspired her to establish a business that authentically reflected her values—supporting cooperatives, mitigating environmental impact, and delivering an exceptional product. Café Rebelde actively creates a welcoming environment for ethical and socially responsible coffee, while also actively uplifting other women-owned and BIPOC businesses.

Building Brand Awareness

The company offers retail coffee bags for sale online and through local retail partners. Additionally, they provide a monthly coffee subscription service. Their Espresso Truck operates as a full-service espresso bar, serving not only coffee but also teas, specialty lemonades, and pastries from a local BIPOC baker. Looking ahead, as Cafe Rebelde strives to enhance brand awareness, they are expanding their product line to include ready-to-drink bottled beverages, showcasing their specialty coffee. Over the next few years, they plan to open a small network of Espresso Bars and community cafes to bring their coffee to their community in new and exciting ways. 

Overcoming challenges

Despite facing unique challenges as a woman and a Latina in the business world, Carissa overcame these obstacles by finding her voice and building her confidence. She emphasized the importance of surrounding oneself with supportive people who believe in the product or service. Additionally, Carissa recognized the value of uplifting and collaborating with other women-owned businesses. This mindset has allowed Café Rebelde to grow organically and create meaningful connections within their community.

HEDCO Support: Advancing sustainability and environmental commitment

HEDCO played a crucial role in helping Café Rebelde achieve its goals by granting them funds through their COVID-19 Support Program. This support enabled Café Rebelde to purchase an electric battery, which powers their Espresso Truck with zero emissions. This strategic investment aligns seamlessly with Café Rebelde’s unwavering commitment to minimizing harm to the environment. Furthermore, this eco-friendly approach enables them to provide their customers with delicious coffee while simultaneously supporting local businesses.

Thriving Through Values

Café Rebelde’s success story embodies passion, perseverance, and community. By staying true to their core values and fostering deep connections with their customers and fellow local businesses, they have experienced remarkable growth. Their unwavering commitment to ethical sourcing, sustainability, and supporting other women-owned and BIPOC businesses has paved the way for a promising future.

HEDCO Inc., remains dedicated in fostering the growth and development of small businesses across Connecticut. If you seek assistance in nurturing and expanding your own venture, we are here to provide guidance and resources. To learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals, contact us today.


Cafe Rebelde Truck
Cafe Rebelde
Cafe Rebelde Subscription