Discover the women-owned roasters driving gender equality in the coffee industry

Josephine Walbank
February 18, 2022
women-owned roasters girls who grind

Despite women providing up to 70% of labour in coffee production, the industry is still notably male-dominated.

Various factors contribute to this imbalance across the value chain, including limited access to education and resources, and the challenges female producers face when trying to own land.

The good news is that across the world, women are carving their own niche in the roastery market. In fact, the number of female roasters has grown by almost 10% since 2014.

By supporting female-owned businesses, consumers can help make the coffee industry more equitable and accessible for women.

Here are five exciting women-owned roasters working in the specialty sector right now. 

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girls who grind coffee

Girls Who Grind Coffee

Girls Who Grind Coffee is an all-female roastery renowned for advocating gender equality in the coffee sector.

Owners Fi O’Brien and Casey Lalonde launched the roastery in 2017 and exclusively employ women throughout their product line. 

Essentially, they have created a platform to help the Western world understand inequality within the coffee industry.

To further champion gender equality, Girls Who Grind buy all their green coffee from female producers working on women-run farms.

Most importantly, this is all done in a way that gives back to coffee-growing communities. As the roastery uses producers name’s and stories on their packaging, it is only fair they are compensated.

To this aim, they founded Cheek To Cheek – an initiative that hands 10% of all the roastery’s retail profits back to the producers. The producers then have complete freedom to spend the money however they like.

Another example of the roastery’s social consciousness is their partnership with Mió. Located in Monte Santo de Minas, Mió is a coffee farm that educates its female coffee producers about the supply chain. In addition, Girls Who Grind provide roastery lessons.

Not only does this initiative improve awareness and transparency, but it provides female producers with the knowledge to increase profits.

Girls Who Grind are driven by their core goal of building a sustainable, gender-neutral coffee chain. Their work supports women in the field and encourages them to advance in the sector by recognising and rewarding their roles.

rako coffee roasters

RAKO Coffee Roasters

RAKO Coffee Roasters based in Lorton, Virginia is owned by sisters Lisa and Melissa Gerben.

They share a strong commitment to precise and ethical sourcing, and, together, the pair have established a collective of like-minded specialty coffee professionals.

The RAKO community consists of roasters, baristas, importers, and branding experts all sharing their skills to try to achieve remarkably high-quality coffee and pursue eco-consciousness.

RAKO sources single origin specialty coffee through direct trade relationships, and they know the farmers personally.

In addition to their wages, RAKO also pays its coffee farmers premiums. As a result, the farmers can reinvest in their operations and upgrade equipment to improve the quality of their harvest. 

By establishing this system of direct sourcing, RAKO has been able to support both the farmers and their local communities.

Furthermore, as part of their environmental initiatives, RAKO roasts its beans using eco-conscious equipment. Their Loring S35 Kestrel and S15 Falcon use 80% less fuel than other roasting equipment.

Consequently, its innovative design means these roasters emit almost zero greenhouse gasses.

moore coffee

Moore Coffee

Moore Coffee was founded by Gayla Moore, a specialty coffee pioneer with over three decades of experience in the industry.

In addition to roasting the beans, Gayla is also Moore’s green buyer and quality control manager.

Due to her exceptional knowledge of terroir and roasting profiles, Gayle selects and roasts the coffee with the utmost precision and care.

In order to unlock the full flavour potential of each coffee variety, Moore Coffee prioritises a small-batch roast process.

The roastery genuinely prides itself on its small range of beans. Each is carefully chosen with its premium standard in mind. Furthermore, the long-term sustainability of the origin farm is considered. 

That is why Moore Coffee is a Certified Organic roasting company and restricts its offerings to high-quality single origin estate coffee.

Furthermore, the roastery has established a sustainable relationship with each coffee farmer to ensure the best beans are traded at a fair price.

women-owned coffee roasters

Tico Coffee Roasters

Mariana Faerron, the owner of Tico Coffee Roasters, grew up in Heredia, Costa Rica and spent her childhood in a coffee farming community.

Even the name “Tico” comes from the colloquial term for a Costa Rican native. 

Mariana worked as an Agricultural Economist in Costa Rica, before moving to the US and opening Tico Coffee Roasters.

Understandably, she takes great pride in being a woman from a coffee-producing country who now showcases the richness and complexity of Grand Cru coffees. 

Thanks to her childhood, Mariana has extensive knowledge of all steps in the coffee production process. This enables her to develop a supply chain that works to the benefit of everyone involved.

In addition to managing the growth, sales, and company strategy of the roastery, Marianna works hard to maintain Tico’s sustainability and social consciousness.

Primarily, she has established direct connections with coffee farmers, so she is able to buy exclusive beans of the highest quality. These are then roasted in small batches to exhibit the coffee at its finest.

As a result, Tico Coffee Roasters met the standards to become a certified green business through the California Green Business Network.

Tico Coffee Roasters is also a member of the Campbell Chamber of Commerce, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), and the Alliance for Coffee Excellence.

Additionally, the roastery has partnered with businesses such as Pachama and earthbanc. Both companies collect and share data to help businesses offset their carbon emissions and pursue more sustainable practices.

girls who grind coffee sustainable coffee bags

Together, these women-owned roasteries aim to educate consumers on where their coffee comes from. Furthermore, they reveal that transparency through the supply chain can lead to more sustainable business practices.

At MTPak Coffee, we can help move your business toward more ethical practices with our sustainable coffee packaging.

Our range of sustainable coffee bags includes recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable options, with recyclable degassing valves and resealable zippers.

Photo credits: Girls Who Grind Coffee, RAKO Coffee, Moore Coffee, Tico Coffee Roasters

For information on our sustainable coffee packaging, contact the team today.

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