By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

May 4, 2023 | 3 min read

The joint effort honors the four-time-Grammy-Award-winner’s heritage while also supporting world hunger relief.

Turns out, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye might have been working “after hours“ on not only his upcoming extended tour but a passion project that pays homage to his Ethiopian background.

Yesterday, specialty coffee chain Blue Bottle Coffee announced a partnership with the multi-platinum recording artist and his record label, XO. Together, they have created Samra Origins, a coffee line that is named after Tesfaye’s Ethiopian mother, Samra, and celebrates Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee.

According to the brand, Blue Bottle purchased the coffee beans from an Ethiopian producer named Wolde Faye Koricha at the prestigious coffee competition and auction, Cup of Excellence (COE). The beans were grown through natural processes used for centuries by Ethiopian coffee farmers, like drying the out beans under the sun. The result is a flavor profile that is indicative of the region, which boasts notes of fresh fruit and bright florals.

Those beans were then brought back, where Blue Bottle’s head of innovation & quality, Benjamin Brewer, hosted cupping sessions with Tesfaye and his mother. The two tasted each variation and carefully selected the cup most similar to the coffee they brew at home. From there, Blue Bottle carefully worked with The Weeknd to fine-tune the blend.

“Ethiopian coffee is truly in a class of its own and the country holds a special place within our Blue Bottle community,” Blue Bottle’s chief executive Karl Strovink said in a statement shared with The Drum. “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 ... 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.”

To raise awareness, Blue Bottle released an ad spot starring Tesfaye. In the ad, the recording artist drinks coffee, his face bathing in golden-hour sunlight. The campaign, produced in-house with no external creative agency, is currently running across digital and social.

Samra Origins launches May 9 with a limited release of Exceedingly Rare Ethiopia Wolde Faye Koricha COE #7. This single-origin, whole bean offering is exclusively available at $65 per 100-gram tin at Meanwhile, the Samra Origins coffee blend will debut this summer. Consumers who want to stay updated on the blend’s launch can join a waitlist via as well.

As part of the effort, Blue Bottle also donated an undisclosed amount to Tesfaye’s XO Humanitarian Fund, administered by World Food Program USA, to provide aid to in-need communities in Ethiopia as well as support hunger relief worldwide.

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.

Celebrity Endorsement Brand Purpose Creative Works

More from Celebrity Endorsement

View all