The Coffee Writers Guild will help writers collaborate, network, and share resources.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Images courtesy of Coffee Writers Guild
The specialty-coffee industry has many publications covering its every move—including the one you’re currently reading—with myriad writers penning the articles that appear in these websites, magazines, and other works.
While many writers orbit the world of specialty coffee, there hasn’t been anything tying them together as specialty-coffee scribes—until now, that is. Last month saw the launch of the Coffee Writers Guild (CWG). The independent guild is composed of writers, journalists, and media professionals, and invites members to share resources and collaborate. Additionally, it provides opportunities for members to participate in educational programs, mentorships, and networking opportunities. According to a CWG press release, the guild also aims to “increase the professionalism and sophistication of coffee writing for more effective written communications.”
A Group to Unite Writers
Leading the creation of the Coffee Writers Guild is Spencer Turer, vice president at coffee and tea consulting company Coffee Enterprises. Spencer launched a LinkedIn group for coffee writers in the summer of 2021 that served as a forerunner of the guild. “There are no costs or fees to join the LinkedIn group,” Spencer says, “and the only membership requirements are to be a published writer or have professional experience as a writer, editor, or publisher.”
He adds that the guild will eventually formalize membership and will require a registration fee from members to cover operating expenses, but the guild plans to remain accessible to all. “We are encouraging inclusion, and this is an open guild for anyone to join,” he says.
Spencer explains that he wanted to create the LinkedIn group, and in turn the guild, because he believes that writing has not traditionally been a fundamental skill in specialty-coffee professionals’ development. “We are very good at practical education and technical training for cupping and grading, roasting, brewing, and even latte art,” he says. “Other skills and expertise have been relegated to do-it-yourself or on-the-job training, or the individual needs to already have the skills before entering the coffee industry. Too often I have encountered people enthusiastic about coffee writing who do not have the network connections or understand the process to submit ideas or even completed articles to magazines for consideration.”
Power in Numbers
A founding member of the Roasters Guild (now the Coffee Roasters Guild), Spencer has witnessed the positive impact of a professional guild in the coffee industry, and the collaboration and educational opportunities that come with it. While the Coffee Writers Guild is still in “start-up, entrepreneurial mode,” as Spencer puts it, he says the guild will evolve based on the needs of its membership.
“Our functions and activities will have a central theme of supporting writers to increase their skills for more effective written communications and access to submit their work for publication,” he says. “The guild shall facilitate collaboration and networking; we will provide educational programs, and establish a mentoring program connecting experienced coffee writers with those needing assistance.”
A Focus on Inclusivity
Also included in the Coffee Writers Guild’s launching materials are the Coffee Writers Values and Common Standards, a list of guidelines intended to help coffee writers be successful. According to Spencer, this document of values and standards “represents who we are, who we aspire to be, and what we stand for. Thus, it was critical to include a statement to avoid discriminatory references and have sensitivity for inclusion, respect, and acknowledgment of diversity. These are guides and a framework for writing and for membership in the Coffee Writers Guild.”
Helping Spencer navigate the launch of the Coffee Writers Guild is its volunteer management committee, which includes Ildi Revi of Ally Coffee; Anne Mercer of Victus Coffee; Luke Waite of The Lev Co.; Jim Brady of Starbucks; Connie Blumhardt of Roast Magazine; and Gabriela Cordon of Rainforest Alliance.
For more on the Coffee Writers Guild, visit its website here.