Professional coffee roasting has some barriers to entry—financial, yes, but also historical and cultural. In a move to promote more accessibility amongst the keepers of the flame, Cafe Imports has teamed up with Ikawa and Glitter Cat to giveaway an Ikawa Pro100 sample roaster to a person who identifies as part of a marginalized community. Applications are open now.

Coffee roasters (as well as sample roasters) are expensive; the Ikawa Pro100, for instance, retails above the $4,000 mark. With their equitable giveaway, Cafe Imports wants to remove at least that sizable burden for the winning applicant looking to advance their coffee career in hopes of creating “a more equitable and opportune space for all people within the specialty coffee industry,” per a press release. To that end, they are encouraging all roasting-inclined folks who identify as POC, LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent, disabled, or part of a marginalized gender to enter.

To enter, applicants must answer a series of questions explaining a little bit about themselves and how a sample roaster would advance their careers. Answers can be in the form of text or uploaded artwork, music, recording, or video. Submissions will then be reviewed by a panel of judges selected by Glitter Cat. Judges include Glitter Cat’s Veronica Grimm, Coffee Project NY’s Sum Ngai, and Neichelle Guidry of @Blackgirl.blackcoffee.

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Grimm tells Sprudge that need is assumed, so they will not seeking out the candidate with the greatest need, or even asking about it. Instead, they will be looking for candidates who “answer the questions with intention” and who have “a strong vision of how receiving this Ikawa roaster will impact their career goals as a coffee roaster and/or how it can/will impact their footprint on the coffee industry (be it local community, global industry, or anything in between).”

“Sample roasters are not cheap and often marginalized people are forced to be, well, in the margins of the industry,” Grimm adds. “That’s not okay, and this is just one space in which we are seeing more and more people and companies make strides for accessibility and accountability. Equitable giveaways are here and I am really excited to be working with Cafe Imports on this project. This giveaway’s intention is to help be a resource for a coffee roaster looking to further their coffee roasting/green buying career and we need more of this! The more resources, knowledge, and equipment we get into the hands of marginalized people the stronger this industry will be.”

Applications are open now until 11:59pm Friday, August 20th. For more information or to apply, visit the Cafe Imports questionnaire page.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Sprudge Media Network is partnered with Glitter Cat, Ikawa, and Cafe Imports.

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