Kristy Mujana (aka Kmac) and Priscilla Fisher (aka Cill) met over a cup of coffee in 2016. Together they launched Floozy Coffee, a roastery in Newcastle, New South Wales, that promotes equity in sourcing and supports folks in need.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Floozy Coffee
Kristy Mujana (also known as Kmac) and Priscilla Fisher (also known as Cill) are the owners of Floozy Coffee, a roastery in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Along with roasting and sourcing amazing coffees, they also donate a portion of their profits to The Rough Period, a nonprofit that provides all women safe access to sanitary products. In this interview, Kmac and Cill talk about how they met, what it means to be a small business owner, and their values as a company.
Ashley Rodriguez: Tell us about your life pre-coffee.
Kmac: I’ve always been a hospo [hospitality] gal, except for a brief stint working in an office. I actually thought I would end up working in a brewery.
Cill: I always thought I’d be a statistician with the International Monetary Fund.
AR: How did you get into coffee?
Kmac: I’ll jump ahead to my first notable coffee job that set me on this career path. My partner, Hal, and I opened an espresso bar; he is an extremely passionate person who introduced me to what the world of specialty coffee could be.
Cill: This is actually my first coffee job. My background is in economic development and women’s rights, so the female empowerment aspect of one of the world’s largest industries definitely appeals to me. It’s so exciting to be in an entirely different industry and I’m definitely learning a lot!
AR: How did you two meet? What made you want to start a business?
Cill: We met almost two years ago. I moved into a house four doors down from Kmac’s café and went in every day until she became my best friend. (I think the whole process took about a week.)
Kmac: Exactly what Cill said; we met in the café. The business idea started in the café, watching the way people reacted to the female baristas. With Cill’s background in women’s rights, she and I came up with Floozy as a way to address the imbalance.
AR: What did you notice?
Cill: We notice that customers would see a female barista on staff and ask for a male barista to make coffee, for example. Kmac owned her cafe with her partner, but roasters would come in and speak only to her male partner. It’s everywhere—business owners bragging about hiring ‘pretty girls’ to do the serving, or amazing female baristas being overlooked for head barista positions. Even in our business; some male cafe owners who won’t buy our product because we are sexist (lol, k).
AR: When did you get into roasting?
Cill: We started learning to roast about 12 months ago. So we’re still pretty fresh! Kmac has learnt a lot about roasting from our mentors, from her own research, and from trial and error, and I’ve learnt everything I know from Kmac! She’s a wizard.
AR: Tell us about the coffee scene in Newcastle. How is it unique?
Kmac: The coffee scene in Newcastle is growing so rapidly. Even in the short time I’ve been here I’ve seen some amazing roasteries from all around Australia start to be featured in cafés, and I’ve seen things like batch brew become the norm. Local roasters have started to pop up with a focus toward specialty coffee, which I think is the thing that will move Newcastle toward its own unique culture.
AR: How do you approach coffee? Do you have a philosophy or way of thinking about roasting coffee?
Cill: Kmac and I have really similar taste when it comes to coffee. We’ve always chosen our coffees based on what we like to drink, so we’re talking super bright, acidic coffees with candy sweetness.
AR: I love the branding of your business—how do you approach aesthetics? What are you trying to communicate?
Kmac: Our goal is to roast amazing coffee, but to be fun about it. We try to be as true to ourselves as possible with the design, while also ensuring that we can be commercial about it–we sometimes get carried away!
Cill: It probably seems a little bit more calculated than it actually is! We just design things that we like and hope that other people like them too. We just really like cute things. When it comes to our social media, we really try to focus on letting people into our lives. We love getting to know our customers and we think it’s cool that our customers get to know us, too, no matter where they are in the world.
And just on that too, at the end of the day our mission is equality in coffee. We don’t hate men, we don’t think women are better etc. We just want everyone to be appreciated and treated with the respect they deserve.
AR: What feels important to you in coffee?
Kmac: I think definitely things like sustainability, traceability, and equality are obviously quite important. Customer enjoyment is something I think is incredibly important; it’s the reason I got into hospitality and on this path. When it comes to the community, at least in Newcastle, I think we have a long way toward becoming a real community. I’d love to see more people working toward the general betterment for the customer, not holding close their tightly held secrets for brewing the best cup or pretending there is some secret magic being done behind the machine. We’ve seen a lot of inclusiveness toward us, which is promising, but open discussion has to be the way forward to help us all learn to get our end customer the best-roasted beans and the best-extracted cup.
Cill: I think there still needs to be a lot more education for consumers about how coffee is produced and how much farmers are paid, and I think the onus is really going to have to be on café owners to make this change happen. It seems insane to me that Café A is charging $4 for a coffee made with quality ingredients where the farmer is paid properly, and yet Café B is charging the same for a slave-driven product. I really believe that consumers would be willing to pay more for their coffee if they knew that their money was funding sustainable and ethical farming practices, but the education just isn’t there (yet).
AR: Have you ever received a compliment or criticism that surprised you or made you reconsider the way you operate?
Cill: I once had a male café owner accuse our business of being sexist. I took it really personally at first because our whole thing is about promoting equality in the industry, so I was pretty shocked that someone would perceive us that way. I guess you can’t please 100 percent of people 100 percent of the time, but I take comfort in knowing that there’s actually nothing sexist about trying to make the voices of women in the industry heard, and the overwhelming majority of people have received Floozy so well and agree with us that it’s time to see more chix in coffee, so we’re gunna keep doing what we’re doing.
Kmac: I think there’s definitely a misunderstanding there of our mission; we are an entirely female-owned business (Kmac, Cill, Bec), and as such completely female-operated. We have no staff, but when the time comes we’d be overjoyed to hire a dude if he was right for the job.
AR: What’s next for you, both small and big?
Kmac: Next for me is really honing in on my cupping skills.
Cill: I’m really loving seeing bags of Floozy pop up all over the world. It makes me feel like a proud mum.
AR: What do you do in your spare time?