The Twin Cities-based company is hosting the Minneapolis AeroPress Championship and has reserved half the available spots for women, POC, gender non-binary or non-conforming people, LGBTQ+ folx, and registrants with disabilities.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Cafe Imports
The problem of representation in coffee competitions isn’t new; however, many coffee companies and individuals are tackling the problem head on, and trying out new ways to increase representation of marginalized groups. Cafe Imports is one such company. The Twin Cities-based company is hosting the Minneapolis AeroPress Championship, and has pledged to reserve half of spaces in the competition for anyone who self-identifies as women, POC, gender non-binary or non-conforming, LGBTQ+, and registrants with disabilities.
“We’re really drawn to the spirit of the AeroPress Championship circuit because it’s a fun, more relaxed, and approachable competition than, say, the more intense, expensive, labor-intensive Barista Championships that happen around the world,” shares Meister, editing manager for Cafe Imports. “In that same spirit, we wanted to make sure that we can offer a truly diverse, inclusive environment, and that the folks on that competition stage represent all of the wonderful, dedicated, and fun-loving people who make specialty coffee so great.”
Diversity in coffee is a problem many know exists, but few know how or are willing to take action to solve, instead relying on folks from marginalized communities to simply show up. By creating space specifically for marginalized competitors, Cafe Imports is sending a clear message of action. “Reserving these places for underrepresented competitors is one way we hope to broadcast to our peers in the industry that real disparities exist in participation at coffee events, and that we can change that. We believe that visibility is important and empowerment is necessary, and we’re committed to creating an environment that’s safe, welcoming, diverse, and represents what we think specialty coffee should look like.”
Spots for folks who self-identify as a member of a marginalized group are open until August 10, so the time to register is now! If you can’t or don’t want to compete, everyone is welcome to watch and cheer on competitors at the event on August 31 at the Cafe Imports Warehouse—we hope you’ll be there!