About Tinycup's Founder

About Tinycup's Founder

headshot of michael j.a. davis, founder of tinycup wearing dark button-up shirt, dark denim/leather apron with tinycup logo and black fist lapel pin, black winter hat and translucent eye glasses. He has brown skin, black mustache and goatee and is smiling.

Michael J.A. Davis is an award-winning designer, creative director and coffee roaster from Northern Virginia. His work is grounded in a commitment to the life, love, and liberation of everyday Black people and communities made vulnerable by systems of inequity.

Equal parts entrepreneurial, visionary and collaborative, Michael is the founder of Tinycup Coffee, a home-based coffee roasting company that helps everyday people experience coffee as a personally restorative ritual through small-batch, pan-roasted traditions that pay homage to the Horn of Africa and the Caribbean.

Before founding the roastery, Michael led design teams in the higher education, scientific health, and financial tech industries. As an equity designer he helped organizations integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion principles and practices into public service initiatives, brand strategy and UX design projects. Early in his career, he autonomously owned corporate and employer brand marketing operations for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the National Institutes of Health. There, he launched multi-channel campaigns that helped restore integrity to the NIH brand and positioned the agency to be named “#1 Place to Work in Government in 2018” (Equal Opportunity Magazine). 

He served as the founding-Director of Equity by Design at Capital One, an enterprise-level joint venture between the company’s design organization and human relations department with C-suite accountability. The program developed equity-centered, trauma-informed solutions and approaches to organizational culture, design standards & practices, and digital product experiences.

Michael also supported the creative direction of the award-winning Black History Celebration for Capital One Cafes. The national campaign was a breakthrough cultural moment at the intersection of design, history and culture that genuinely expressed Capital One’s commitment to racial justice.

Additionally, Michael served as a member of the advisory council on Anti-Racism & Inclusive Excellence to George Mason University. 

He has written for Fast Company and his work has been featured in Forrester and Equal Opportunity Magazine. 

Michael left his Fortune 100 job, after 15 years in Corporate America, to redesign his own life. A passion for coffee would lead him to pursue a more sustainable life of—what his favorite writer Kiese Laymon defines as—good love, healthy choices, and second chances.

“I fell in love with coffee, sharing quiet moments with my mother, reliving cherished memories she has of her father. Connection to family history and ritual is what Tinycup is sharing with the world.”

photos of Tinycup founder with various facial expressions, arranged in a 4 by 2 grid

 Growing up, Michael shared thoughtful exchanges of ideas with his mother over coffee, much like the moments she shared with her father. This laid the foundation for his journey to Tinycup, when in 2015, in the back of a kitchen of an Ethiopian cafe in Falls Church, Virginia, he first experienced and learned the tradition of pan-roasting coffee. In the years to follow, Michael would gather the stories of family members who taught him the authentic traditions of coffee growing, hand processing, and pan-roasting in the countryside of the Dominican Republic.

The idea finally crystallized of a coffee roasting company that could facilitate a care-driven experience that helps everyday coffee lovers make time for little moments of self care, self love and self worth.

Founded in October 2023, Tinycup Coffee would introduce a fresh perspective, experience, and unique flavors rooted in generational family recipes that cut through a noisy, saturated marketplace. Michael turned principles of design and justice work onto the craft of coffee roasting to create a company that is actively striving to center equity in the coffee industry.

Tinycup's aim to enrich the coffee-drinking experience is rooted in a desire to contribute to the preservation and elevation of the traditions and stories of indigenous coffee communities around the globe.


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