Hey guys, hey! I have a litany of excuses on why I haven’t posted much, but I won’t bother you with that. There’s a panel discussion this Wednesday at CityGrounds Coffee Bar. I, along with some very lovely ladies (including a Skyping coffee farmer), are on the panel. I’m feeling pretty honored to even have been asked, so please do come and hear me possibly embarrass myself by not saying anything important.
Following the panel discussion will be a coffee tasting, featuring, presumably Passion House & HalfWit. Presumably, because I know they’re the only two female roasters in the city and happen to be the sponsors/ moderators for the panel. Just a hunch.
The topic is “Women & Gender” and has been approached a few times lately in the coffee industry. For the most part, the discussions tend to range from “raging feminist” to “but how do we start families?”
We’ve received some flack on having a women’s only “Coffee Ladies Cocktails.”
From guys, they say that they want to be a part of it, because the concept of cocktails isn’t gender-based. Guys can obviously make cocktails, too. They, too, want to hang out, chat, and discuss how cocktail ingredients can blend seamlessly into each other (and coffee) to create one perfect drink.
From ladies that have never attended, they assume it’s an estrogen fest, where we air all our boy issues, talk about how we hate boys, and be generally “feminine.” I put that in quotes, because god, can we please stop being ashamed? You, irregardless of what gender (or not gender) you identify with, should be able to wear lipstick, comfortable- maybe even attractive- shoes, curl your hair, compete, talk about coffee and be taken just as seriously as the next person. There’s a reason why the cocktail night is still for women- it’s because it helps us bond and speak freely.
In being a “woman in coffee,” you have to embrace the label and help others along the way. Your other option is to look the other direction, ignoring the issues of others. That’s not very community-oriented, is it? I’ve experienced the macho attitude and I’ve discussed the lack of a competitive desire with fellow ladies. The issue isn’t that we don’t want to compete (or substitute action here). It’s that we’re not taking the time to help others who want to compete. Everyone progresses along their career path in a different way. Sometimes, it helps to have a role model doing what you want to do. It also helps if that role model is willing to assist you in even the smallest form. And maybe you don’t want to compete! That’s totally cool, too.
There’s way more you can discuss about women in coffee; it’s a never-ending topic. Feel free to comment below, email me, or just come into the panel and listen to a number of us discuss the topic.