Get up, stand up, for Marley-brand coffee

Zimbabwean native and former Copenhagen Post columnist bringing reggae royalty’s brand of coffee to Denmark

Could Marley Coffee be loved in Denmark? Tendai Tagarira certainly thinks so. The 29-year-old Aarhus resident and Zimbabwe native has signed on to exclusively distribute Marley Coffee products in Scandinavia. The deal will bring one of the world’s fastest-growing coffee brands to Denmark, along with one of the most recognisable names around the globe.


Heading up Marley Coffee is Rohan Marley, the 41-year-old son of the legendary reggae performer Bob Marley. His Jamaican-based business produces over 30 different brands of coffee – including the highly-regarded Jamaican Blue Mountain beans – and has received plaudits for its focus on ecological growing, sustainability and stewardship.

“There is a strong level of interest here [in Marley Coffee],” Tagarira said. “Bob Marley transcends three generations. People in Denmark like good coffee, and sustainability is an important aspect of Danish society. Plus, there’s only one Bob Marley.”


Tagarira reached out to the Marley Coffee management two months ago. During those initial Skype conversations, Tagarira and his business partner Jon Stage presented their plan to distribute the coffee in Scandinavia under the name ‘Sustainable Coffee Denmark’. 


They fended off questions from Rohan and his team, who surprised Tagarira with their depth of knowledge of the Danish business landscape and Marley Coffee’s competition. Tagarira, who started his first business – a beef jerky distributorship in Zimbabwe – at the age of just 17, said he was able to use his artistic background to sell Marley on the venture and convince him that every little thing was gonna be alright. Tagarira has authored over 20 books and his journalistic work has been published in The Copenhagen Post and other newspapers. 


In addition to the highly marketable Marley name, Tagarira was also attracted to Marley Coffee’s altruistic mission. He noted the company’s charitable patronage of the 1Love charity, along with its insistence on fair-trade coffee, which pays growers a better rate along with its commitment to ecological and sustainable growing practices.


“When we trade this coffee, we’re trading something that’s not only ethically grown, but is world-class coffee,” Tagarira said.

Exemplary business practices are one thing, but Marley Coffee also has to prove it has the right taste profile for Danes. Scandinavians are the world’s top coffee consumers on a per cup basis, according to a 2011 Reuters report. Currently Tagarira and his partner have deals with several businesses in Aarhus, but they are trying to get other deals brewing.  

“Every Dane has an opinion about coffee,” Tagarira said. “Every person here drinks coffee – more so than water I think. But we’ve heard nothing but positive reviews so far.”