The Revelator sponsorship for the 2018-2019 competition season will include application fees, travel funds, prep, and training; the deadline to apply is August 31.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo by Reed McCoy
With barista competition season now underway—the U.S. Coffee Championships has held three preliminary competitions, with seven still to come over the next two months—support systems have been cropping up to assist competitors from marginalized communities. Last month, Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp—started by 2018 U.S. Barista Championship (USBC) finalist T. Ben Fischer—launched to provide competition training to baristas from marginalized groups via an all-expenses-paid retreat.
The latest initiative offering support to aspiring competitors comes from Atlanta-based Revelator Coffee Company, which this month announced plans to offer sponsorship to five baristas from the greater coffee community for any competitions in the upcoming season. Through the end of August, Revelator is accepting applications from coffee professionals who wish to compete.
Josh Owen, Revelator’s president, says the decision to launch the sponsorships stems from the company’s focus on diversity and inclusion. “Creating more opportunities for individuals typically underrepresented in the coffee industry—whether that’s women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or others—is something we really care about,” he says.
Josh says the sponsorships were born from a yearlong process that started when a manager from one of Revelator’s cafés competed in a regional barista competition last year. “When he returned and showed us photos from the competition, we noticed that the fellow competitors were overwhelmingly white and male,” Josh says. “While Revelator as a company doesn’t place a lot of emphasis on competition, we do emphasize inclusion; we felt strongly that we, as an industry, need to be better about encouraging new talent to participate.”
Josh says he soon noticed a lot of fundraising taking place from independent competitors—many from groups historically underrepresented in the coffee industry—who couldn’t afford to come to Seattle to compete at the 2017 USBC. “Their stories resonated with me, and we ended up selecting two non-Revelator employee competitors and sponsoring their travel and lodging costs to get them to the competition,” Josh says.
This year, Revelator decided to formalize that sponsorship and open it up to five individuals. “We are asking people to apply to ensure that we’re reaching the best and most deserving people,” he says. “At the end of the day, what we really care about is creating more diversity and inclusion in the competition scene, and this seemed to be a great way for us to add new and diverse voices to the conversation.”
Each sponsorship will provide financial assistance with travel, registration fees, wares, and coffee for practice, caffeination and presentation, as well as coaching, training and on-site support during competitions. Josh says that while Revelator will be thrilled for anyone to use their coffee in their competition routine, it isn’t a requirement of the sponsorship. In addition to the five sponsorships granted, Revelator will also offer sponsorships and support to several baristas from the company.
For more details on the sponsorship—including to apply—visit Revelator’s website here. The deadline for applications is August 31, 2018, at midnight Eastern time.
Revelator only pays lip service to the ideas of inclusion. I would look past this shiny PR stunt and maybe you will see what I’m talking about. Mass firings of LGBTQ community members and expecting mothers and fathers are a norm in this company.