The Mexico-based The Gay Barista on Instagram celebrates the safe spaces that coffee shops provide for the LGBTQ+ community.
BY TANYA NANETTI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Luis Enrique
The Gay Barista is a new platform with the goal of connecting coffee culture with the LGBTQ+ community. Mexico-based founder Luis Enrique tells us a little more about the project.
“Two years ago I was living in Australia, and it was there that I realized that the coffee culture was very close to the LGBTQ+ community, and it actually worked as another safe space for us, outside the nightlife scene,” Luis explains. “So I went back to Mexico and I started replicating that idea, connecting the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico City. Our goal is to provide representation for all LGBTQ+ folks working in (or simply with a passion for) specialty coffee.”
From Finance to Coffee
Luis is a former finance professional from Mexico City, and after 10 years hiding behind an Excel spreadsheet, he decided to take an unexpected turn and pursue his passion for coffee. It was in 2021 that he quit his 9-to-5 job and started his own coffee brand, The Gay Barista, as a way to showcase representation for gay specialty-coffee members.
“Coffee shop culture and the LGBTQ+ community are closely linked,” Luis says. “They offer us a safe space outside the regular nightclub scene where we can gather. Having more spaces like these where we can be ourselves is vital for those who are not party animals.”
Growing the Brand
In the few months since its creation, The Gay Barista has rapidly evolved from its initial concept. After launching his own coffee brand in Mexico, Luis now hosts regular meet-ups for LGBTQ+ coffee professionals in Mexico City, and is working on the launch of its first competition which, in Luis’s words, will be “inspired by The Barista League-style events, but gayer.”
The Gay Barista’s work aims to build a coffee world based on inclusiveness and sustainability. “Hopefully, I expect to see a more diverse and inclusive specialty-coffee scene,” he says. “I will get to work to make an impact and change things. We need to change the idea that specialty coffee is connected with luxury and exclusivity. We need to eliminate all bluffs and stop stereotyping people for the way they like or drink coffee, even if it’s not specialty.”
A Secure Supply Chain for Mexico
On the topic of the Mexican coffee scene, Luis adds that “there is a lot of work to be done to ensure that the whole coffee chain in Mexico benefits from what it does. Right now, only roasters are profiting from the coffee business. Here, baristas who often work grueling shifts in Mexico, working days that can start early in the morning and last even until 10 p.m., are forced to see their job as a side gig; they cannot earn a living from it, making it harder to professionalize coffee work. And this absolutely must change.”
Check out The Gay Barista on Instagram to follow news of events, coffee drops, and a glimpse at life as a coffee pro in Mexico.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.