10 Incredible Women in Coffee You Should Know About

10 Incredible Women in Coffee You Should Know About


We caught up with 10 incredible women in coffee you should know about and asked them all four questions…

 

Remember that last cup of coffee you drank that was ridiculously good?

Who made it for you?

Well, you’ll probably never know everyone who played a part from the coffee farm to behind the counter, but there’s a damn good chance a woman was involved at some point.

Let’s change that. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we spoke to 10 incredible women that work in or with cafes on the Siply app.


SPENT GROUNDS – KAREN LOPEZ, CO-OWNER

Find her on Instagram at @spentgrounds
spent-grounds-coffee-roasters.myshopify.com

What do you love about working in coffee?
The people that I have met along the way and, best of all, interacting directly every day with my customers.

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
Well, jumping off the cliff with my wife to start this business with no financial assistance and still having the lights on and paying the bills!

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
If you are interested in pursuing a career beyond becoming a barista, go for it because there are other avenues within the industry.

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
I attended the SCA Industry show a few years ago in Seattle and was quite shocked at how few women were there.

We need to get more women involved and from the ground up in meaningful roles other than supporting the men…from the farmers all the way to the companies selling goods and beans.

There really aren’t many female roasters or coffee shop owners so we have to encourage women to get involved but many just don’t have the resources or money to take the courses, etc.

There needs to be a place where we can go to find out about grants, scholarships, etc. for women, if they even exist.


PALLET COFFEE – ALYSSA RUGG, OPERATIONS AND WHOLESALE MANAGER

Find her on Instagram at @SincereJourneys
www.palletcoffeeroasters.com

What do you love about working in coffee?
One thing I love is that coffee is one of those rare things that is for everyone. No matter your race, age, gender, economic situation, no matter what coffee you choose to drink or how you choose to drink it, coffee is for absolutely everyone. The industry certainly isn’t perfect, but it is amazing to be able to work with a product that has the ability to cross so many barriers and boundaries.

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
The connections I’ve made, the amount I’ve learnt and the little space I’ve carved for myself since starting in this industry a few short years ago. I knew pretty much nothing about coffee when I started, and still have a huge amount to learn, but I knew I had the passion, determination, creativity and grit to push and create success for myself. I’m incredibly proud of the connections I’ve made and the different ways I have been able to get our product and myself out there.

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
Know your worth and keep working on speaking up and speaking out, which for some is easier said than done. But you also have to do your part to keep showing up and making space for yourself in environments and situations that you want to be in and know that you’re capable, skilled, and deserving enough to be there.

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
Every woman obviously has such completely different experiences that vary across an immensely wide spectrum. One of the most immediate things that comes to mind for me personally though, is the continued stereotyping of women, which of course isn’t just something that happens in the coffee workplace.

We are capable of so much more than just being shut away doing admin work, taking care of staff problems or quietly supporting behind the scenes. Those are all important things and no shame in doing that work whatsoever, I do all those things proudly myself. But it’s when we then aren’t also given equal opportunity to call the shots, lead projects, receive and manage big orders and inventory, or make big decisions and have tough conversations, simply because we are perhaps viewed as weaker, less skilled, less experienced, less tough than our male counterparts.

Also, if I had a dollar for every time someone has called the head office or come in and said, “I was hoping to speak to a Manager, is HE in?”….


DALINA – STEPHANIE KAYSER, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Find her on Instagram at @stephkayser
dalina.ca

What do you love about working in coffee?
I believe in the power of moments, the ability to positively impact someone’s day through a simple interaction at the till or in the café.

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
Coaching future leaders and watching them succeed is very rewarding.

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
Learn to thrive on change. Adapt and always be learning.

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
We need to increase support for women in coffee in developing countries, through the IWCA (international women’s coffee alliance) and making smarter choices with our purchasing power.


HOUSE OF FUNK BREWING CO. – ANN HNATYSHYN, HEAD COFFEE ROASTER

Find her on Instagram at @a.hnatyshyn
www.houseoffunkbrewing.com

What do you love about working in coffee?
The best part about working in the coffee industry is having access to new and exciting coffees that have just landed in Canada. It’s very exciting getting a sample bag of green coffee from an importer that has tasting notes of watermelon, kiwi, or something different and funky.

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of the coffee knowledge I acquired while traveling. I’ve had the privilege of learning from some of the best coffee roasters in Europe. This knowledge and experience paved the way for me to start the House of Funk coffee program from scratch.

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
One tip I would give women is to have confidence in you. Most of us think we don’t have enough experience or aren’t good enough. Push through that fear and you will be surprised where it takes you. Success comes from having the commitment and drive to continue learning and growing.

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
I want more equity in our industry. Currently in coffee there is a large stratification of resources. While I strive daily to evoke exciting flavors from the coffees I get, I am very conscientious of the process that coffee goes through in getting to me.

For example, I am not in the business of finding the cheapest supplier because I know as a roaster I am part of a bigger picture that begins with the farmer. When we promote equity from the start it becomes ingrained in the process and everyone’s value is better recognized – including women’s roles.


PARAGON TEA ROOM – MICHELLE CHEUNG, DIRECTOR/OWNER

Find her on Instagram at @michelle_perfume
paragontearoom.square.site

What do you love about working in coffee/tea?
Tea has 5,000 years of history and has evolved into many different forms in different cultures around the world. Traditionally, people host friends and guests with tea to cherish any gathering that they may take part in, emphasizing that any moment in life is unrepeatable. When it’s consumed solitarily, the tea drinker rests in the space for meditation and reflection to instill inner harmony and individual consciousness. I like how this simple yet sophisticated drink represents a merge of world cultures and symbolizes self reflection, harmony and genuine human connection. These are all very relevant and important elements in modern day life.

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
Definitely leaving a stable corporate job to be fully focused on this tea venture. Not knowing how far it will go, I still decided to give it a try, give myself a chance to live my life with passion and purpose, and hopefully I can leave a positive impact on people who are contemplating about what they are waking up for everyday. I started Paragon Tea to resurrect this cultural drink while modernizing it. By giving non coffee drinkers the options they need, and regular coffee drinkers the chances to explore, tea is here to remind people to pause more, and take in more of their surroundings in a deeper, more engaging way. Slowing down for a few moments in a day is necessary to stay sane in urban cities. I think the fun and casual (sometimes sassy) culture and vibe at Paragon have helped our customers enjoy their me-time during their visit here.

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee/tea industry?
Be brave and get ready to be challenged that this is not a mainstream product in North America. Try to think outside of the box. Tea has such a long history but too little modernization. It has got a great potential! Try to source your tea directly, so you can have better control on cost and most importantly, quality.

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee/ tea industry for women?
I would actually love to see more men getting involved in the tea industry. There’s a long association of women and tea plantation and drinking. It’s common to see women plucking tea leaves in tea plantations, even in modern days. The scene of a group of well-dressed ladies having afternoon tea together is also very common. That is probably why tea is seen as a very feminine drink. Therefore, I hope to see more men advocating for tea to break this stereotype. I truly believe that men who understand and appreciate both coffee and tea are more romantic!


THE GARDEN STRATHCONA – ANNA MCMILLAN, FOUNDER & GENERAL MANAGER

Find her on Instagram at @annam_rose
thegardenstrathcona.com

What do you love about working in coffee?
Coffee culture creates connection and a sense of “third place” for people to come together outside of their homes and workspaces

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
Building a business centered around ethical sourcing and environmental responsibility without compromising on an exceptional experience.

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
Find a mentor that can help empower you and get educated on the complete supply chain

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
More awareness on the impact of the industry on the women who grow, pick, process the coffee we buy.

70% of the labour in coffee production is provided by women; and, unfortunately there are massive gender inequalities at this level of the supply chain that most of us are completely unaware of.

Fair-Trade is a must. Organizations such as the International Women’s Coffee Alliance are doing a lot of great work in this area, I hope to see more awareness and support of these initiatives across the board.


THE GARDEN STRATHCONA – RHEANNA MILLER, CO-OWNER, CAFE & EVENT MANAGER

Find her on Instagram at @_rheannamiller
thegardenstrathcona.com

What do you love about working in coffee?
Its ability to bring people together and foster a sense of community. Plus, you can’t beat the smell!

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
Taking a leap of faith and being a part of this wild ride that encompasses business ownership.

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – there are always people with a wealth of knowledge and something amazing to teach you!

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
We’re seeing more and more female entrepreneurs doing inventive and creative endeavours within and beyond the coffee/cafe industry.

I hope this trend continues because it is inspiring, impactful and imperative.


ESPRESSOTEC – ALISON ENSWORTH, MARKETING COORDINATOR/CONTENT CREATOR

Find her on Instagram at @alison_ensworth
www.espressotec.com

Photo credit Thomas Nowa

What do you love about working in coffee?
The people who truly love the craft. I’ve met some of my absolute favourite people in the coffee industry, which to me is a testament to the power of following your bliss. Chasing the aesthetic, technical, agricultural, social, and sensory allure of specialty coffee has organically brought me into contact with real kinfolk from whom I’ve learned so much and drawn incredible inspiration.

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
By no means can I take much credit for this, but I’ve felt proudest about participating in events that elevate the coffee experience for those involved, whether they’re new to coffee or veterans of the industry. The inaugural Beanstock Coffee Festival, the BC Regional Aeropress Championship, and the Strong Women Future Champions Barista Bootcamp stand out most. (Does that count as one?)

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
Jump in and don’t let the patriarchy hold you back! Seek out the women who are making a positive impact in the industry (the Strong Women of Coffee site is a great resource!) and follow their lead. Rising tides lift all if we support each other!

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
Equal pay, equal respect, equal voice. The industry stands to benefit from the many talents that women within it have to offer, if we give them the opportunity!


C MARKET COFFEE ROASTERY & KITCHEN – BRIDGETTE HYUN, DIRECTOR

Find her on Instagram at @bridgette_hyun
cmarket.ca

What do you love about working in coffee?
The highlights of my day are the meaningful exchanges I have with my customers. Being able to share my passion for coffee with fellow enthusiasts and allowing them to explore through the diversity of our well-sourced beans is the very reason I opened this café. It is always great to learn more about coffee from other coffee aficionadas and catering our coffee to our customers’ desires.

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
One thing that I am most proud of is being the co-founder of C Market Coffee Roastery & Kitchen. I am the most proud of being able to pursue this dream as a working mom while still being the biggest supporter of my daughters’ dreams as competitive dancers. I got my certification as a Q-grader and have taken various SCAA education programs while juggling the busy lifestyle as a dance mom to two tireless daughters. I believe that it is important to be an example for my daughters, to let them grow up knowing of the possibility of raising a loving, happy family without having to sacrifice their own career.

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
One tip that I would give to other women looking to get involved in the coffee industry is to not be afraid to be loud and expressive with the passion and art you put towards your coffee. A lot of people may shy away from being seen in the industry, but it is important for us as women to share our talent to our community.

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
As an adamant supporter for the empowerment of women entrepreneurs, I advocate for women in the coffee industry to be better exposed to greater opportunities and recognition. I know the support among women in the coffee industry is consequential in building the community up, therefore I hope that I can be in a position to provide insight and support to other women in the industry in even a marginal way.


NEMESIS COFFEE – SONI MAND, CFO

Find her on Instagram at @sonisoni
www.nemesis.coffee

What do you love about working in coffee?
I get to meet so many people from different backgrounds and walks of life.

What’s one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
I led a workshop called Colour Accounting and taught basic bookkeeping and accounting principles to a bunch of our staff.

What is one tip you would give to women looking to get involved in the coffee industry?
Show up at all the coffee events, talk to everyone, leverage your unique skill set and express your passion and affinity to learn. And become friends with Tom – he knows everyone in coffee!

What change do you want to see take place in the coffee industry for women?
I would love to see more women in decision making roles in the coffee production supply chain.


We’d like to give a huge thanks to everyone that took the time out of their busy days to answer our questions for this article. We’re extremely proud to have such amazing partners to work with every day and the list above is just a small sample of the many thousands of women in our local coffee scene that make Vancouver such a wonderful place to drink our favourite drinks.

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