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Hidden Gems: Meet Katerina “Kat” Taylor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katerina “Kat” Taylor.

Hi Katerina “Kat”, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. As a small child, my father owned a grocery store, by the time I was nine years old I was counting money to help prepare bank deposits. By the age of 11, I was standing on a milk crate checking out customers buying groceries. My 8 siblings and I worked our business as if one day it would be ours. Listening to my father talk business was fascinating. There were three men my father relied on our Banker, Mr. O’Toole, our CPA, Mr. Carter and our Attorney, Mr. Ivan. I knew I would pursue one of those professions, as my father relied on their expertise, and I thought they were important people. As I got older I realized my father had a fourth person he also relied on and that was a gentleman named Mr. Taylor, no relation to my family, but Mr. Taylor was like my father’s mentor. He owned a diner and my dad would take us there to talk with Mr. Taylor and have lunch. However, my Father’s greatest supporter was my mother.

My dad passed away in the Spring after my 11th birthday. While I don’t recall their conversations, it is no coincidence that I became a banker and a businesswoman. I spent 15 years as a Banker learning and cultivating relationships. In 2012 I was recruited by a local energy company CEO to lead Membership and Investor Relations for the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, I was officially appointed to become the first woman President and CEO of the organization. During my time at the Chamber, I sharpened my business and relationship skills and accomplished a great deal of work around legislative efforts, infrastructure, economic and community development and more. In 2019 I was appointed by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to the Mayor’s cabinet as the Executive Director of the City of Atlanta’s Workforce Development Agency known as WorkSource Atlanta. At the City, I learned more ways to show empathy and became a stronger leader because of the challenges looming over the progress being made.

Always keeping women, people of color and other people with diverse backgrounds in mind, I realized that I had made a lot of strides in the name of Equity and Inclusion in my past roles. In 2021, I became the first National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for a large “American Lawyer 100′ Firm. I enjoy this role even on days it’s emotionally exhausts me.

In 2020 my business partner and I decided during the pandemic to consider what business would we both enjoy doing. On the weekends we attended franchise conferences or business opportunity webinars, and then one day we both said coffee! While the coffee market was saturated we could not get a cup of coffee in our Grove Park Community in the City of Atlanta. We shared stories of our individual travels and recognized the significance that coffee played during our travels. Ultimately, we created HOT COFFEE a woman-owned and Black and Native American owned coffee brand. We are also the first woman and minority coffee company to accept cryptocurrency as its preferred method of payment. We are a small batch micro-roasted coffee brand, with the ability to fill large retail and distribution orders. Currently, we are being sold online and in stores. We are especially excited to be sold on the Atlanta Beltline, at Ponce City Market, at the nationally recognized The Village Retail. Our goal is to open the first coffee shop in Grove Park.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As a black woman that has always worked in professional services, which are also male-dominated professions, I have had my share of challenges. As a former President & CEO, I have had people mistake me for my male direct reports, and question my experience. I have had men ask me to take notes by pushing a pen and a legal pad in my direction in meetings I was leading. My leadership and decision-making have come into question based on my look and gender. Having to always defend your position and decisions is not only exhausting it’s demeaning. Having to navigate the workplace or entrepreneurship can take a toll on your mental health and have you questioning your ability. So self-care and positive self-talk are a must. Getting the rest you need to withstand difficult days can be a lifesaver.

As a business owner, it is difficult to find resources at the time resources are critical to your business growth. Much like in my professional career, my business/ entrepreneurial acumen comes into question. This sometimes results in a need to be and look perfect in every way. Some call this the Superwoman Syndrome and many women suffer from it. I hope and pray every woman and person of color finds the strength to show up as themselves every day, make their skillset visible, and walk in every room with confidence. Some entrepreneurs and founders have convinced themselves that other business’ failures will also be theirs, but we each need to take risk and define what success looks like.   

Regardless of the challenges and struggles, the road has been rewarding.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
My business partner and I started this coffee company for many reasons. Our love for coffee and our love for travel. We’d share stories during the pandemic of places we have traveled to and about coffee we have tasted all over the world. We both live in Grove Park a community on the westside of Atlanta and we questioned why we couldn’t get access to good coffee. We set out to search for the best beans, the best roast, the highest quality and the simplest gourmet taste, and bring that back to Atlanta. Back to the Grove Park Community and the legacy and new residents of that community. We believe we’ve done just that.

No more complicated, overhyped coffee here! HOT COFFEE has simplified gourmet by bringing you premium beans from select growing regions of Africa, Central and South America. We use micro roasting to perfect the ideal cup of coffee. From Light, Medium, Dark to Decaf we bring you an everyday full-bodied cup of coffee.

Our whole beans are micro-roasted seven times longer than other coffee brands, this intentional roasting method is preferred to produce a higher quality roast. Prioritizing slow roasting and a small batch process allows HOT COFFEE to preserve the integrity and quality of every bean. Our master roasters artfully perfect our whole beans to capture the rich flavors and freshness of our coffee. Our goal is to bring you a product that stands alone in its flavor profile in pursuit to be your choice for daily enjoyment. We currently offer whole beans, ground coffee and single pod serving cups compatible with a Keurig.

HOT COFFEE is the first woman, Black and Native American-owned coffee retailer to accept Cryptocurrency as a preferred method of payment. We chose to accept cryptocurrency because we wanted our customers to have full access to our product offering. Many people use crypto only as an asset class, we want people to get comfortable using crypto as a currency to buy goods.

We are looking forward to the luxury partnerships we have planned for 2022 and the strategic brand partnership we will introduce in the months to come. Currently, we are sold on our website at and are proud to be sold in the Village Retail, in Ponce City Market.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
I have many as my family traveled, we loved family gatherings, and the family business was a time for us to work together in ways that many families do not get the chance to. My favorite memory is when I discovered I could take one piece of penny candy and place it in a 2 cent ballon and sell then for a nickel. I am not sure I knew what profit was or when I picked it up on how to structure my prices, but I was most proud to tell my dad that I made 2 cents after all of my costs per unit. It dawned on me later in life that I made 5 cents because I never paid my dad back for the product overhead I got from our store. Not only is this one of my favorite memories, but it fueled so many other side hustles and absolutely supplemented my college pizza and shopping habits.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Instagram: @lovehotcoffee
  • Facebook: HOT COFFEEco
  • Twitter: @lovehotcoffee

Image Credits:

HOT COFFEE Archives, DeKalb Chamber, @loveHOTCOFFEE

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