Latte, Americano, cold brew, decaf drip—any way you sip it, your coffee has a story. Where the coffee cherries were grown (yep, beans are in fact cherry stones), the person who picked and dried them, and the journey they took to eventually make it into your cup.
Quaff on this: per the World Bank, 500 million people on this planet depend on the coffee industry for their livelihood—and of that number, 25 million are coffee farmers who generally live in substandard conditions, receiving only pennies on the dollar for their contribution to our caffeine fix. More than half of those workers are women, but these same women are usually underrepresented socially, economically and politically in their communities. Without the work of these tenacious ladies, family incomes would drastically decrease, farm production would come to a standstill, communities would suffer untold costs—and coffee offerings would be seriously slim.
So we’re partnering with the nonprofit International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) to combat gender inequality in the coffee supply chain by investing in women-led cooperatives and farms. Starting May 1, all of our Ebar coffee shops will carry three specialty blends grown by women in places like El Salvador, Colombia and Burundi. All blends are medium roast and have won quality awards for their flavor.
We recently sat down with several IWCA members at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle. Here’s what these women entrepreneurs had to say about their experiences working in the coffee industry, specifically with IWCA, and how the program has helped empower the women and communities around them.