Hey Ladies…

We’ve got three amazing women on the cover of the new issue of Barista Magazine, and I want to tell you why we did it.

I spent a lot of time talking to Anna, Sarah and Laila about issues facing women in the coffee industry ”the conclusions they came to were that, in the circumstance of the barista community, women aren’t kicked to the curb by men ”there just aren’t that many women to begin with. I think one reason for this is that, given the fact that a male dominated community can be intimidating to women, regardless of the industry, women are less likely to feel comfortable walking into what could be perceived as a boy’s club. They don’t know that they’ll be welcomed once they get there.

Besides the release of Barista Mag’s new issue, today also saw lots of reactions from folks on Twitter and Facebook about the fact that the just-announced roster of speakers scheduled for the Nordic Barista Cup is all male. It was also pointed out that of the 22 speakers scheduled for the SCAA’s Symposium, six are women. Not bad ”not great.

No professional woman that I know in this industry wants to be invited to speak based on the fact that she’s a women ”she wants to be invited because she’s an expert in her field, and has information to contribute. And there are PLENTY of women who fit this bill. I would list them here, but I can’t be sure I’d remember to include all of them ”there are just so many.

Regardless of the speaker schedules for the NBC and Symposium, we’re just excited to be using our platform to celebrate some amazing people in the coffee industry who happen to be women. I think folks who attend all the trade shows and conferences, who head companies, plan events, and who are leaders in this industry forget sometimes how important it is for the majority of people in the industry ”the people who aren’t as physically connected to our community as they might be ”to see the strong women we have in our industry celebrated. We are honored that Anna, Sarah and Laila wanted to share their very different stories with us, to explain how they got into coffee, why it’s so important to them, and why they’re making careers out of it.

Somewhere I know there’s a barista, a roaster, a cafe owner, who feels isolated because she’s in this industry. We’re just trying to throw her a line, and let her know she’s not alone, and she’s a part ”an important part ”of our growing, changing industry.

About Sarah 934 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I think men are better baristas than women. My wife is professional barista in Ireland. Have to say she is very good. We know many male and female baristas and girls can do really nice coffee and are creative, however I think men in general have better sense of taste and smell. Sorry girls 🙂 The most important thing is that we all love coffee.

  2. It’s not every day that a magazine cover is a shared project. Interestingly enough, the three of us have crossed paths in coffee so much we owe the industry a huge THANK YOU for bringing our different lives to a common ground in friendship. I should also note the success of Barista Magazine beats in the huge heart and integrity of Editor, Sarah Allen. Who has been one of the biggest crusaders of baristas world wide before anyone ever really invested in our futures. BM promotes events, celebrates people and an expressive freedom of speech, a freedom most our world dreams to have. Celebrate amazingness and defend it as well.

    The privileges in coffee go on and on. Where am I going with this? Regardless of what the world is used to seeing on every stage, competitive, business executive or at the coffee bar I always always ALWAYS hope above nationality, sex, age, or any other preference that the best person is chosen for the intended need. With an industry so limited in proper exposure, we desperately need great voices in our leadership. It would be disheartening to see focus take on the weakness of “issues”. I’d like to believe our industry, especially with it’s willingness to embrace talented diversity recognizes some the progress we have had and looks forward to the rewards we will have. When one of us increases all of us increase.

    We’ll get where we need to be fairly, I’m pretty confident of that.

  3. I’m not sure what my experience shows, but my cafe staff currently consists of 6 female baristas and one male (excluding me). During our eight plus years in business we have consistently found women to be (with exceptions) better with our customers, better at handling the high pace of our business and more willing to learn coffee in general. If I could give other cafes any advice – it would be to seriously consider resumes from the gals who come in their door.

  4. Dear Sarah
    Thank you for your post. This is a very interesting debate. The Nordic Barista Cup acknowledges the debate about women in coffee – and it is something we’ve carefully considered previously. There is a variety of talented men and women in the coffee business “ who each have their own gift.
    When planning the 2012 event we first and foremost searched for qualified speakers. Secondly we searched for qualified speakers whose line of work fits into our overall 2012 theme of origin-processing-market-buyer-brewing.
    At first we lined the top 20 names with very qualified male and female speakers we would like to hear. Then we took a realistic view of the list and started working from there. Several of them could not attend. Others did not have time in their schedule. Amongst those were 3 very qualified women, two of whom did not wish to speak. The last one remained on the list but was not asked.
    Many other very qualified men and women could have been asked to speak at NBC 2012. They were not. Not because they were not qualified. Not because they were women “ or men.
    The speakers for the Nordic Barista Cup 2012 are leaders in their line of work:
    Experts in their field.
    Highly qualified.

    This debate has shown us that we need to be more careful in our selection. And for NBC 2013 we will do our very best again to gather the best set of speakers. Women and men. All qualified professionals who can inspire us all and the specialty coffee industry. That’s what we are here for.

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