The Dallas coffee scene is looking better than ever since Oodie Taliaferro of Cultivar Coffee teamed up with barista Briana Flores to found a new organization, Dallas Coffee Gxls. Founded in January of 2018, the organization’s mission is to support, empower, and foster community for coffee professionals in the Dallas metroplex area, especially those who have historically been underrepresented in the coffee community: women, queer people, and people of color.
Inspired by grassroots coffee organizing across the country and frustrated by a lack of forward motion at the local level, Taliaferro and Flores decided that if they wanted to see change in their local community, they would have to be the ones to make it happen. “Dallas coffee events are still cisgender/heterosexual/male dominated,” said Taliaferro, even though, according to them—Taliaferro uses they/them pronouns—the Dallas-Fort Worth area is very diverse. “We want all people to feel like they have an organization that fights for them. Dallas coffee is growing, and with that needs to come growth of representation.”
They also want to be clear about who they represent: “Our group is by women, for everyone,” said Taliaferro. “Some events will be exclusively for gender-marginalized people, but most will be open to everyone.” Taliaferro and Flores aim to push community-centered events past latte art throwdowns and other competitions, working towards collaborative events like social hours, meet and greets, cuppings, and volunteer-based education. They also want to support and encourage more gender-marginalized people—a term for any gender group that experiences gender discrimination, including cisgender and transgender women, nonbinary people, and transgender men—to attend, compete, and judge in the competition-based events that the area already enjoys. In working to accomplish these goals, they also plan to address access needs that keep certain community members from being able to attend, like making sure events are child-friendly.
The fledgeling group started off strong by releasing a thorough code of conduct and gathering names for a Slack community where they can collaborate despite the geographic sprawl of the Dallas region. Their inaugural event in January was a gender-marginalized meet and greet, followed by a celebratory throwdown. “We discussed harassment and discrimination in the workplace and ways we can help each other combat it. Baristas and roasters alike shared their visions for what our industry can and should be here in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex,” said Taliaferro. The event spilled over into what was one of the most widely and diversely attended throwdowns the Dallas-Fort Worth area has seen in recent memory, with around 50 attendees. “There was definitely a vibrancy in the air as soon as we started our discussion,” said Flores. “I don’t remember the last time there was such a large turnout for a TNT in North Texas.”
The organization has much more planned in the coming months. “We’re also planning to work with #CoffeeToo and Queer Coffee Events in the future,” said Taliaferro. [Full disclosure: I am a co-founder at Queer Coffee Events.] “Dallas has a huge coffee community and so many of those folks face racial or gender marginalization. We hope to be able to be a resource for everyone.”
Down the line, Taliaferro and Flores intend to elect interregional representatives throughout Dallas-Fort Worth midpoints like Denton, Flower Mound, Coppell, and Highland Village to make sure that everyone within their large region feels represented and included. “We’re fortunate to live in one of the most progressive cities in Texas, where we can find the support to move forward,” said Flores. “We want to reach out as far as possible to educate, heal, and empower.”
The group is excited to keep hearing and amplifying the voices of their local community and bring their shared vision to life. “We want to provide hope, educational resources, child-friendly coffee events, but most of all, a safe place for marginalized individuals to speak, feel, create, be appreciated for their craft,” said Flores. To stay up to date on Dallas Coffee Gxls, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram; if you want to connect or are interested in donating, you can reach out to Dallas Coffee Gxls via email.
Photos courtesy Dallas Coffee Gxls.