The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times

Part coming-to-America story, part lyrical memoir, and yet another part activist’s call to action, The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times is timely, funny, and poignant. Writing as a mother, immigrant, new American, coffeehouse owner, and international nonprofit leader, Prabasi’s story weaves between Nepal, Ethiopia, and the United States. When Prabasi and her husband move from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to New York City with their young daughter in 2011, they start a thriving coffee business, grow their family, and are living their American Dream. After the 2016 election, they are suddenly unsure about their new home.

Reclaiming the tradition of coffee houses throughout history, their coffeehouses become a hub for local organizing and action. Moving from despair to hope, this story is ultimately about building community, claiming home, and fighting for our dreams.

Advance Praise

“This transporting, globe-trotting tale filled me with wanderlust. Prabasi describes beautiful, surprising firsts as she travels the planet — from earliest toddler memories, through to adulthood. When she settles in uptown Manhattan and brings an international lens to her local business, the book soars with political and personal ferocity, never losing the warmth of neighbors connecting over coffee.” —Quiara Alegría Hudes, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and composer

“Sarina Prabasi has found a way to help us navigate today’s questions by looking at her own past experiences. Full of warmth and bristling with urgency, The Coffeehouse Resistance is compulsively readable and absolutely necessary. Get it now.” —Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze

“Prabasi’s story of life as an activist, immigrant, and coffeehouse founder, so intimately related on these pages, offers a model of what 21st century resistance looks like—and in the process helps us reclaim the revolutionary roots of coffeehouse culture.” —David L. Parsons, author of Dangerous Grounds: Antiwar Coffeehouses and Military Dissent in the Vietnam Era 

“The Coffeehouse Resistance is a powerful account of aspirations, hope, and citizenship. It shows that every big change happens a little bit at a time, one conversation at a time, one cup of coffee at a time. At Buunni Coffee she and her husband opened their hearts to the local community and created a hub where people gather to write letters to politicians, sign petitions, and escape their sense of isolation at a time when the whole country seems to struggle. Written as an effort to preserve her experiences of the cultures that have nourished her belief in the life of the neighborhood, and a need to stand up for oneself, Prabasi’s book is a heart-felt account that will bring hope to the rest of us.”  —Dr. Carmen Bugan, George Orwell Prize Fellow, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Burying the Typewriter

About the Author

Sarina Prabasi has lived the life of a global nomad and is a new American. She was born in the Netherlands to Nepali parents, and was raised in India, China and Nepal, after which she spent formative years in the United States and in Ethiopia. Sarina is a seasoned leader in international development—working on global health, education, water and sanitation for over 25 years. In 2011, she moved from Addis Ababa to New York City and started Buunni Coffee with her husband. Their small business has become a hub for community conversation and action. Sarina is the proud mama of two daughters, who keep her learning and laughing every day.


Paperback Original
230 pages  I  5.50 x 8.50 in.
Price: $19.95
IBSN: 978-1-7328540-3-1
Pub date: April 9, 2019
Distributor: Midpoint Trade IPG / Ingram, Baker & Taylor.
Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights Contact: Dede Cummings,