Hidden History of North Dakota

Celebrating Women: Jo Khalifa


March is women’s history month. 

And all month we are celebrating women in our area doing great things. 

Here’s Jo Khalifa.

She’s the Jo that makes up Mo-JO roast.

 “Be that woman in the world that gives a hand up,” said Jo. 

She uses her custom-roasted coffee to reach out to women far from North Dakota…

“It helps women and children through education when we buy the Guatemalan coffees,” said Jo.

The beans Jo purchases to roast come from countries like Columbia, Guatemala, Africa, and many others, and she buys from the Cafe Femenino foundation which supports women coffee growers in these remote communities. 

“In Peru, domestic abuse is very bad upwards of 76% so we benefit women and children in that environment,” said Jo. 

Mojo Roast was born in 2005.

“We only bring in specialty grade, so 5 to 10 percent of the world’s coffee makes specialty grade,” said Jo.

“How do you like your coffee roasted, do you like light, medium, or dark. Medium, so we’re going to write that on here, do like whole bean or ground”?

Her efforts to help are not just far off, Jo works with various local organizations.

“Certain amounts of money go directly from purchases or we just go out and donate,” said Jo.

Today Jo uses machines like this but 20 years ago Jo started roasting coffee in this cast iron skillet.

“August of 2005 I was a member of the roasters guild and we had 250 of the worlds best roasters come together in Northern Minnesota and have roast off it was really fun,” said Jo.

She came in 3rd in the roasting division that year. 

“We were pretty stoked about that one,” said Jo.

A couple of years ago Jo was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

“My health has been very poor I just had a complete shoulder replacement and I’ll have to have other joint replacement surgeries and I’m just waiting to crawl out of it hopefully,” said Jo.

but even facing those hurdles, her passion to create something many enjoy is strong, and the bonus is that 1 cup of Mojo roast makes a difference. 

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