Published on February 15, 2024 by Dakota Rice  
Baba Java Team

Wendi and Nathan Parvin have never shied away from the unknown. As a career nurse and optometrist, they’ve lived overseas serving God and their communities. They’ve walked through heartache and loss. And they’ve launched a successful coffee business. Now they’re jumping back into the unknown with their business, all the way to Dubai.

Wendi graduated from Samford University in 1997 with a degree in athletic training. She had always known what she wanted to do with her life, and Samford seemed like an obvious choice. She had siblings who graduated from Samford, and she loved the fact that it was a small university with a beautiful campus.

Nathan on the other hand, wasn’t too sure with his career path. He had always loved math, so he pursued a degree in math and graduated from Samford with his Bachelor of Science in mathematics in 1996. He originally thought of becoming a math professor, but one of his advisors encouraged him to look into applying to optometry school.

Wendi and Nathan met while on a choir trip with the Baptist Student Union, dated throughout college and eventually married. After marriage, Wendi was working as an athletic trainer but started to think about what her schedule would look like once she became a parent. She needed a more flexible option, so she came back to Samford and graduated with her nursing degree in 2000.

Post-graduation, the Parvins felt like God was calling them to live life differently.

“We were living Christian lives, and God was definitely a part of it,” shared Nathan. “We had two children, Joshua and Evie. Then, we had our son Luke. Luke had heart defects, so we would fly back and forth to Boston for his heart surgeries. But he only ended up living for six weeks. That situation gave us a whole new outlook on life, totally changing our relationship with God.”

The Parvins had always had an affinity for people in the Middle East. So, with their medical training, they started to go on short-term trips through their church in Birmingham. Eventually they lived in Israel, and then Jordan for about six years. They participated in community development, held medical clinics and even taught English classes to local Bedouin women.

After returning to the states, their son, Joshua, started to persistently ask his parents about starting a coffee business. Joshua had participated in a summer internship working for a coffee consultant named Brad Haynes in Oman, who would eventually become their vice president of operations.

“Joshua went to school for international business,” said Nathan. “So, Baba Java was started with the intention of going back overseas, eventually. We had no clue how long it would take to get to that point, but Joshua knew Dubai was a one of the highest-scoring countries as far as feasibility for the coffee trade.”

The Parvins opened their first Baba Java store in Hoover, Alabama, in 2019, and it has become a popular gathering place for people to gather while drinking quality coffee. Not only is their coffee tasty, but it’s also ethically sourced. Baba Java works with farmers around the world to source their coffee, and they roast them in house. Their business model is to care both about the farmers and the community they serve. With that mission, they’ve been able to grow their business to a second Hoover location and now, a new adventure awaits them with their expansion in Dubai.

Baba Java International will be a green coffee distribution venture through their headquarters in the Dubai Multi Commodities Center. Joshua Parvin, and his wife, Rachel, will be moving with their son, Luke, to Dubai to lead the expansion.

“This has been a dream realized from the very beginning,” said Joshua. “This was the whole intention, to expand overseas. It’s going to be so special to have my wife and son there with me. My parents have been so supportive, and I’ve always been inspired by their work ethic.”

Samford University is proud to produce alumni who are impacting both local and global communities. When asked what advice they might give to students trying to find their path, Wendi offered some words of wisdom to current bulldogs.

“One thing I’ve learned is to not be afraid,” explained Wendi. “I like everything to be worked out. And the way our life has gone has always been some form of organized chaos. Nathan always says we’re not called to be comfortable; we’re called to obey. Make yourself uncomfortable in everything you do, have faith and trust.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.