3 All-Women Coffee Roasting Companies that Are Changing the Game

The world of specialty coffee is still largely governed by men, but these all-female specialty-coffee roasters are helping to close the gender gap.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Feature photo courtesy of Lot Zero/7Gr

As is the case for many commercial sectors, the world of specialty coffee continues to display gender disparity along the entire coffee chain. From countries of origin to roasting companies to the baristas behind the bar of many cafés in every corner of the world, men still fill more spaces than women do. But that is slowly changing, and more all-female entities are now entering the world of specialty coffee.

Here’s a short list of three all-women specialty coffee roasters you should know!

Six young women and three young men from Cafe Velvet pose for a group photo in front of a large sign that reads "velvet." The wall is purple and the floor is hexagon tiled.
Still women-owned, Cafè Velvet has grown and opened a second roastery in Brussels. Photo courtesy of Cafè Velvet.

Café Velvet, Colombia

Cafè Velvet, one of the pioneers of the Colombian specialty-coffee scene in Medellin, was founded in 2014. They had a precise idea in mind—that coffee will taste better in the country where it is produced, and that knows its history and the sacrifices required to produce it.

Ilse, the founder, created Velvet in order to share Colombian coffee with producers and their families, helping to raise awareness of the product itself, and creating a new generation of conscious producers, roasters, baristas, and consumers.

Soon, however, what began as a simple café evolved into a more complex project that deals with coffee along the entire supply chain, from production to roasting and distribution.

A basement type facility with a roaster and coffee equipment like grinders and tubs on metal shelves.
Café Velvet focuses on buying and selling Colombian coffee. Photo courtesy of Café Velvet.

To do so, Ilse began reinvesting the proceeds of the Medellin café into buying coffee, paying a fair price directly to farmers. She set up a roastery in Itagüí, Colombia, which still roasts exclusively for the local Colombian market.

Today, Café Velvet (still 100% owned by women) owns a café and a second roastery in Brussels that sells coffee throughout Europe.

Four smiling women, the Mauro sisters, hold up coffee bags at Lot Zero. Thwy all have long hair and wear business casual attire.
The brains behind Lot Zero, Sevengrams’ specialty-coffee division. Photo courtesy of 7Gr.

Lot Zero, Italy

The Italian roaster Lot Zero has its roots in another all-female company, 7Gr (Sevengrams), founded in 2009 in Milan by four sisters: Mary, Angelita, Anna, and Daniela Mauro. Coming from one of the historic families of Italian roasting, the sisters founded their own company. Their aim was to relaunch Italian espresso, upgrading the tasting experience of what still is, for many, a simple daily ritual.

From this pursuit of excellence, the next step was obvious. They approached the specialty-coffee world, also thanks to the new member of the team, Chiara Bergonzi.

Chiara is an SCA trainer, international coffee judge, Q Grader, and coffee consultant. She helped develop the line dedicated to specialty coffee, Lot Zero, a process that culminated with the inauguration of a roastery in the heart of Milan. The space is dedicated to roasting, coffee sales, and coffee training and consulting.

Noni sips coffee with a spoon from a cupping vessel. She has long blonde hair and wears a green dress.
Noni Morrison first fell in love with coffee in the French Alps. Now she owns and operates her own roastery in the U.K. Photo courtesy of Noni Morrison.

Noni’s Coffee Roasters, UK

Noni Morrison’s history with specialty coffee began at a specific moment: over a V60 filter coffee drunk on a mountainside in the French Alps. It was love at first sip.

Of course, the coffee tasted exquisite, but that was not all. For Noni—who was studying anthropology at university—what was beautiful was the story behind that specific coffee.

Ian and George, who brewed the coffee, were also just starting their coffee journey. They were eager to share all they knew about the coffee, its producers, and the long path it had taken from a simple seed to becoming a beautifully brewed beverage.

Noni sits in front of huge bags of green coffee from Sucafina and holds a ceramic coffee mug.
Noni’s passion for coffee has led her to commit to sustainability and investment in small coffee farmers. Photo courtesy of Noni Morrison.

That story, and those that followed, captured Noni’s imagination. She had finally found her career path in specialty coffee. 

Eager to learn more about small-scale, sustainable, and specialty-coffee production, Noni started working in a London roastery. After her first trip to Peru to meet the coffee farmers (followed by many others over the years, including Ethiopia and Kenya), Noni decided that the time was right to open her own roastery. She created Noni’s Coffee Roasters, a one-woman business based in Stroud, U.K.

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.

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