Alma Coffee works to #breakthebias and close the coffee gender gap this International Women's Day.
As a woman-owned and operated business, Alma Coffee sees this year’s International Women’s Day (#IWD) as an opportunity to not only celebrate the many accomplishments of women within their own supply chain, but also bring attention to issues of gender inequality where it still persists within the coffee industry.
That’s why, in line with International Women Day’s 2023 theme of #breakthebias, we are launching the limited Mujeres Roast (“Women’s Roast”) to bring special attention to individual female leaders who have broken gender biases within our own coffee supply chain.
This limited roast also extends beyond #IWD, however: Your purchase helps improve the lives of all women in our supply chain by remedying what the International Coffee Organization describes as the “Coffee Gender Gap.”
By supporting Alma Coffee, you are also supporting our direct trade relationship with Finca Terrerito, our family farm(s) in Honduras, who have invested in the improved lives of future women through funding education opportunities, equitable wages, and sustainable farming practices.
If you have a bag of Mujeres next to you, brew up a cup of this year’s delicious medium roast and keep reading to learn more about how your purchase continues our mission of improving lives, promoting sustainable practices, and growing/roasting extraordinary coffee for all people.
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Why a Women's Roast?
In a literal sense, “Mujeres” translates to “Women” in Spanish, and that’s exactly what this Medium Roast with notes of raspberry crème, pastries, and lemon iced cookie is crafted to bring special attention to.
Women make up a huge proportion of the modern coffee industry: A 2018 study from the International Coffee Organization (ICO) found that, spread across all aspects of the coffee farming industry, “between 20-30% of coffee farms are female operated […] and up to 70% of the labor in coffee production is directly provided by women” (p. 3).
This large percentage of female labor should come as a shock to anyone reading this from within the United States, as even our own work force (which is majority women by a small percent, 51.6% as of 2020) has remained practically 50/50 between men and women since the mid-1980s (U.S. Department of Labor).
In theory, a labor force that is overwhelmingly female should mean that these women have more access to economic or social resources that improve their lives, right?
Within the coffee industry specifically, the aforementioned ICO study found that women working at at the farm and agricultural level have systematically lower access to resources that would grant them upward mobility when compared to men (particularly land, decision-making power, or access to educational resources) (ICO, p. 16).
On top of the many problems already looming for the future of the coffee industry covered in previous blogs—from climate change, farm abandonment, lower yearly crop yield, and supply chain inflation—the prospect of equal opportunity for all genders across the entire industry is often brushed aside, and it shouldn’t.
Closing the existing gender gap at the agricultural level of the coffee supply chain could “boost global agricultural output [of coffee] by 2.5-4% [annually],” and there are a few ways that Alma Coffee is working towards this within our own supply chain right now (ICO, p. 26).
But first, before we dive further into how we are working to remedy the coffee gender gap, let’s take a moment to highlight the female leadership that has broken gender biases in our own farm-to-cup supply chain!
The Women of Alma Coffee (2023)
We are extremely proud to be women-owned here at Alma. What you might not know is that most management positions in our farm-to-cup supply chain are also headed by extremely talented women! Here’s a few that help make your favorite coffee extraordinary:
Alma's co-owner Leticia is a fifth-generation Honduran coffee farmer who left her corporate accounting career at KPMG a few years ago to vertically integrate the family coffee farming legacy into a successful US-based roasting business. It goes without saying that, without Leticia, Alma Coffee wouldn’t exist, and she has certainly broken every gender bias in the book by bringing her sustainable coffee business model into existence for all coffee lovers to enjoy!
As Finca T's Head of Quality Control & Exports, it's safe to say our coffee wouldn't taste as extraordinary without the oversight and leadership of Lourdes. From the moment a coffee cherry is picked to export, Lourdes performs a variety of quality control practices that ensure only the best quality coffee beans are shipped & roasted at Alma Coffee's warehouse.
Leticia and Nelly actually grew up as friends in Honduras when Leticia would visit her family farms, often playing in the rows of hilly coffee trees that populate the Finca Terrerito and Finca La Unica landscape. Today, Nelly runs a tight ship at Finca T, and is responsible for accounting, finance, payroll, and admin! Nelly is model for future generations of female leaders at the farming level to follow, breaking the bias for Honduran women who are often passed over for similar positions.
We actually met Ashley back in 2019 when we started purchasing Alma branded disposable cups. She was working for the company who was printing our cups and had stopped in to check out our roastery and our pop-up café. Our paths crossed again at the end of 2022 and Ashley officially joined the team as our Digital Media Manager. Under that title, she is responsible for our social media presence, our email newsletters, and a lot of our graphic design content such as our coffee bag labels and our digital and print marketing. She actually designed our 2023 Mujeres label!
Although Paula is technically a member of our packaging & fulfillment team, you may not recognize her true talent until you look a bit more closely at this year’s Mujeres label (hint: bottom left!). As an extremely gifted artist, Paula brought her drawing skills to our graphic design team not long after joining the Alma Familia last year; She hand-drew many of the designs for this year’s Women’s Roast from the label, card, and even the limited sticker that comes with every purchase!
If you're interested, check out her artwork here!
How Alma Coffee is building a more equitable future today.
Like we mentioned at the beginning of the blog, this year’s Mujeres roast is intended to not only highlight the many amazing women leaders that make your coffee possible, it is also crafted to raise awareness of the coffee gender gap and what Alma Coffee is doing to build a more equitable future.
Purchasing direct trade coffee from Alma improves the lives of women who need it most at the farm level, providing all men & women with fair wages and better access to traditional forms of upward mobility such as education and leadership oppurtunity (ICO, p. 27).
Additionally, Alma’s family farm(s) in Honduras, Finca Terrerito, have made the commitment to provide free tuition, transportation, and access to high quality education opportunities to the children of their team members in Honduras.
This means future generations of women living on our family farms will have access to resources such as financial literacy and ESL classes that grant them unprecedented agency to improve their future, whether that be in the coffee industry or beyond.
We have already decided to cover this commitment in more detail in a future blog post, so stay tuned!
Celebrate women and raise awareness of the coffee gender gap with Alma Coffee!
And so, although there is still progress to be made in closing the coffee gender gap, Our Mujeres roast gives us this special once-a-year platform to draw attention to the steps that have been taken towards an equitable future for Central American coffee farming.
While it's available from March 8th to March 31st, each cup of Mujeres brewed is honoring the leaders, investments, and continued work needed to improve the lives of women within the coffee industry and carve a more sustainable future for all.
While you're at it, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest blog posts from Alma Coffee as well as updates on the investments Finca Terrerito is making that we've mentioned in this blog.
Your support, both in reading this and purchasing our coffee, makes the future of coffee something we can all look forward to!
International Coffee Organization. “Gender Equality in the Coffee Sector: An Insight From the International Coffee Organization.” ICO Reports, ICC, no. 122, ser. 11, 2018, pp. 1–45. http://www.ico.org/documents/cy2017-18/icc-122-11e-gender-equality.pdf
International Trade Centre (ITC). “Women in Coffee.” International Trade Forum 3&4, 2008, pp. 32-33.
US Department of Labor. “Women in the Labor Force.” 2018. www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/data/facts-over-time/women-in-the-labor-force#civilian-labor-force-by-sex.
Written by: Kelley Bostian