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Eight50 Coffee launching in Sobeys, debuts carbonated cherry coffee tea drink, Cascara Hashara

Founder Muna Mohammed told Black Dollar Magazine that the agreement will see the coffee brand land on shelves at select Sobeys stores in Ontario.

Eight50 Coffee launching in Sobeys, debuts carbonated cherry coffee tea drink, Cascara Hashara
Photo of a Sobeys grocery store in Pickering. The grocery store chain is launching Eight50 Coffee blends at select stores in Ontario. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT 

Eight50 Coffee has inked a distribution deal with Sobeys.

Founder Muna Mohammed told Black Dollar Magazine that the agreement will see the coffee brand land on shelves at select Sobeys stores in Ontario.

“We’ve been working our behinds off, and it’s finally happening. It’s nice to be on shelves with some national retailers, build brand awareness, and get ourselves out there. We still sell in independent stores, mom-and-pop shops, and cafes, but now being able to have our coffee in larger retail outlets allows us to scale our business and build even further to reach a larger audience. It’s going to be huge for the company,” Mohammed said.

Mohammed said she pitched the grocery chain a year and a half ago, and talks began. The relationship developed gradually from there, and finally, the timing was right. A Sobeys buyer reached out.

Founded in 2020, Eight50 Coffee was born during the pandemic. It includes five single-origin flavours, three blends, merchandise, and more. The brand also recently debuted a carbonated coffee cherry tea drink and bean-to-bar chocolate at select cafes and stores in Canada.

Appearance at Toronto's Stackt Market with Foodpreneur Lab

Mohammed was one of several Black entrepreneurs who held a residency at Toronto’s Stackt Market during its pop-up retail cafe from May 15–Aug. 7.

During her two-week stay, she connected with new customers and developed relationships with passersby. She said the foot traffic near the store at Bathurst and Front street in Toronto allowed for a great experience.

“It was phenomenal. It was a really good way for us to engage with our customers face-to-face in a way that we normally don’t always get the opportunity,” Mohammed said. “In the past, we’ve done a one- or two-day pop-up, but having a two-week residency really allowed us to showcase our entire product portfolio. We had a lot of different activations during our stay, where we had coffee and chocolate tastings and showcased our textile line as well as our new carbonated sparkling beverage, which I’m excited about. We sold out on the first batch of the Cascara Hashara — Coffee Cherry Tea products that we had brought as part of our prelaunch.”

She added that she’s seen a boost in online sales and visits from repeat customers since her residency at Stackt Market, which was supported by Foodpreneur Lab, a non-profit organization that supports food entrepreneurs in Ontario.

The brand also debuted a carbonated Cascara Hashara, also known as “coffee fruit tea” — a beverage made from the dried husks of coffee cherries, traditionally served hot with a mildly fruity and floral flavour.

Mohammed grew up drinking it. She said that it was normal for her to drink this coffee byproduct and use other parts of the plant, since she is from a coffee growing region. In a lot of ways, the carbonated drink has been a dream product for her.

Coffee cherries are hand-picked from coffee plants when fully ripe, usually a mix of red and dark red, ensuring the best flavour. The outer layer of the coffee cherry, the fruit pulp, is removed to extract the coffee beans. After the coffee beans are separated, the remaining husks or skins are collected.

The coffee cherry husks are spread out in the sun to dry, which is crucial in preserving the flavours and ensuring the husks are free of excess moisture. Once ready, they can be brewed to make coffee cherry tea. Like regular tea, the husks are typically boiled in water, creating a fragrant and flavorful beverage with a unique coffee-like taste.


Mohammed has successfully created another product offering that has already taken off with buyers by canning it as a cold, carbonated option.

Moreover, at a time when coffee production is down, the product promotes sustainability in an industry that will need to get creative as prices rise due to this decline. According to industry reports, global coffee production for the 2022–2023 season is projected to decrease by approximately 15 per cent compared to the previous season.

“There are other cherry coffee teas on the market, but I’d like to say that ours is unique. Being from not only the birthplace of coffee but also from a coffee-growing family and from the coffee-growing region, where Cascara Hashara originated from you tend to learn a lot about coffee and how to utilize all of its parts, we found a great way to infuse flavours that would pair well with the coffee cherry tea, the beverage is low in sugar and has no artificial colours or flavours. So, growing up, it was very normal for us to immerse ourselves in the coffee culture and use other parts of the coffee plant. My mom would prepare the Cascara Hashara for us often,” Mohammed said.

She added that they’re not the first brand to unveil a cherry coffee tea product. Starbucks and other cafes have tried. Seeing the coffee industry try their hand at something she was familiar with made it easier to create her drink.

“The more coffee companies making it and the more people know about it, the better it is for all of us because it increases consumption and sales. I could’ve done it the traditional way, but carbonated drinks are all the rage right now, and there are a lot of alternative drinks on the market. People are super excited about trying new things, particularly if the product is about repurposing or upcycling. This product checks all the boxes,” she said.

A few retailers are already carrying the carbonated drink, and the company is expected to start shipping to other retailers over the next two to three weeks. Mohammed said the goal is to expand the line in stores and cafes and get them in as many hands as possible.