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.

A percentage of proceeds from The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times will be donated to the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR), a non-profit organization, founded in 1982 to educate, defend and protect the rights of immigrants. Recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals, NMCIR is committed to expanding access to legal immigration services, participating in policy making and community organizing.


“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 heartfelt 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


Past Ten: excerpt from the book.



Feature in Riverdale Press.


Highlight from the review in Kirkus:

Debut author and community organizer Prabasi reflects on a life spent in Nepal and Ethiopia and on the disconcerting political environment that she found in the United States. . . . The author’s impressionistic account of her travels is poetically thoughtful, and she has a keen eye for granular detail, which she evokes in delicate, vivid language. Also, she offers an inspiring tale of community-based political action; her cafe participated in a fundraiser for the American Civil Liberties Union, which will remind some older readers of decades past, when cafes were hotbeds of political organization. . . . A beautifully written memoir . . . . 


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 her 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.


The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times
by Sarina Prabasi
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: IPG; also available through Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and other wholesalers.
Individuals can order via, online at (see below),
or contact your local, independent bookstore to request (or order from their cart!).
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741

Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights & publicity contact Dede Cummings, publisher: