Inclusivity and representation have become common themes in modern American coffee culture. Events like Cherry Roast, the Coffeewoman, and Womxn in Coffee and groups like #CoffeeToo and the Dallas Coffee Gxls have all been created to discuss the hardship and champion the works of women, trans, and non-binary individuals within the specialty coffee community. And now, a group in the UK is following suit. Called The Kore Directive, the London-based group was created to “focus on empowering women through imparting tailored knowledge of the speciality coffee industry, in order to bridge the gender accessibility gap that exists at the bottom of the industry ladder exacerbating the underrepresentation of women at professional and leadership levels.”
Created by London coffee professional Sierra Burgess-Yeo—who enlisted the help of five other current- and ex-coffee professionals combining for over two decades of industry experience across the UK and Australia—The Kore Directive aims to “specifically address the disadvantages, overt or otherwise, that womxn face in the specialty coffee industry here in the U.K.,” Burgess-Yeo tells Sprudge via email. Through a series of semi-monthly events beginning in January and running through July, The Kore Directive is a seven-month project alternating between casual meet-ups with a specific theme—cuppings, discussion panels, guest speakers, etc—and practical application classes focusing more on hands-on training.
Burgess-Yeo wants the Kore Directive to “talk about issues people don’t talk about enough [in the UK],” issues that Burgess-Yeo tells Sprudge she has experienced firsthand.
Earlier this year I left a job that compounded a lot of the issues I’d faced in my time in the industry—lack of welfare, mental health support, resources for a POC, progressional opportunities and further training, and certification. For a long while I festered in the resentment and anger at my inability to do anything about it—until I questioned if I could. That was how The Kore came about: out of my desire to affect individual and intersectional change to combat what I perceived as widespread, systemic gendered discrimination.
Burgess-Yeo tells Sprudge that while all events put on by The Kore Directive “largely cater to self-identifying womxn,” they are “definitely open to queer and non-binary folx too.”
To drum up interest for their 2019 events, The Kore Directive is releasing a zine as well as hosting an introduction and all-female-focused cupping at Volcano Coffee Works in the middle of next month, which has already sold out. The zine, which can be purchased at any of the upcoming events, is a compilation of interviews with women involved with The Kore Directive.
Top image via The Kore Directive