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Rays’ Evan Longoria, Kahwa Coffee partner for exclusive blend for Irma aid

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St. Petersburg-based Kahwa Coffee is partnering with Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria on an exclusive coffee blend to help Hurricane Irma relief efforts.

Signature Series No. 3 is a nod to the three-time All-Star player’s number since his 2008 rookie season. Proceeds from the new blend, curated by Longoria, will help select charities and causes, including Irma aid.

Sourced from three high-quality beans and roasted by Kahwa in St. Petersburg, bags of No. 3 will be available at all 12 Tampa Bay Kahwa locations, and at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays.

Sarah and Raphael Perrier, the husband and wife co-founders of Kahwa Coffee, hope to the Signature Series will become a regular collaboration with local partners to help the Tampa Bay area. Founded in 2008, Kahwa has expanded to 12 shops around the region — north to Belleair Bluffs and south to Sarasota.

“Evan has been a longtime Kahwa customer and we were quite familiar with his interest in local charities,” said Raphael Perrier. “As we both call Tampa Bay home, we’re incredibly excited to bring this project for the greater good to market.”

The project began with a tweet to @KahwaCoffee from Longoria, seeking an opportunity to meet the team behind the brand and explore collaborations. Kahwa was searching for a versatile blend that would work well as an espresso, Longoria’s preferred coffee drink, as well as drip or press.

“After visiting Kahwa’s roasting facility St. Pete, I was very impressed,” Longoria said. “They presented three options from a selection of beans, all delicious. The only difficult part was picking which one to go with. Together, with the team at Kahwa Coffee, we really nailed this blend and I just know fans of good coffee are going to love it. I’m proud to put my name on it.”

Through this project, Kahwa and Longoria hope to raise as much as $10,000 in its first phase.

Roasted and packaged in Tampa Bay, Kahwa focuses on blends and not single-origin coffees, using hand-selected and blended Arabica beans before roasting. The company’s wholesale distribution has grown to 650 local and national restaurants and five-star hotels across Florida, California, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. Kahwa works with United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) for widespread grocery distribution in the Southeastern U.S. and Tampa Beverage Service for restaurant/hotel distribution.

Creative Loafing readers voted Kahwa “Tampa Bay’s Best Coffee” six years running, and the brand is carried in dozens of Winn Dixie Florida stores. Kahwa was named “best coffee ever!” in multiple appearances on HSN.

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