Australia is widely known as the place for coffee—and if you weren't aware already, the Melburnians will tell you so. As an American living amongst all this self-proclaimed greatness over the last year, credit where it's due: the coffee here is consistently sweet and delicious (though I make better filter coffee at home). But when I walk into my neighborhood cafe, or any cafe in Melbourne for that matter, most of the baristas slinging shots are men. When attending cuppings, technical skill trainings, competitions, and panel discussions, they're majorly attended and led by—you guessed it—men. I've had batch brew mansplained to me on multiple occasions.
In a world where equality and equity are increasingly taking precedence—an especially hot topic in the world of coffee—why does Australia look so behind? How does an entrenched dude-bruv masculine coffee culture work towards change? At least one new organization has made this their pointed focus heading into 2019 and beyond. World, meet SAME CUP.
With a focus on the Australian specialty coffee industry, SAME CUP “will provide an avenue for networking, personal and professional development, education and increasing the visibility and power of the WHOLE coffee community.” The goal is to not only support women, LGBTQI+, people of color, and other marginalized communities as baristas, but offer training and access to higher-level positions too. Founder and New South Wales Account Manager at Five Senses Coffee, Demelza Jones, pens on their website:
When we don’t diversify our employees at all levels we are missing out on the wealth of knowledge that these people possess and ultimately we are missing out on the ability to genuinely connect with a broader audience.
Not only that, but we can provide marginalised people an opportunity to look up to and be inspired by someone that looks/thinks like them—it’s a win/win.
SAME CUP also has big plans to bring the popular Cherry Roast competition created by Amethyst Coffee Co's Elle Jenson to the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) in 2019. Additionally, they're raising money to help support future events, and potential corporate sponsors are encouraged to jump on board.
Earlier this year, Australia saw a women-focused event, Barista Connect, come down under during the week of MICE. I see that as a potentially historic event; now we're seeing its success and intent start to ripple through Australia's coffee scene, inspiring even more women and non-binary coffee pros take a chance and change the face of coffee here in Australia. If the end result means I taste a little less macho in my morning cup of joey, well, good on ya.
You can learn more about SAME CUP and find out all the ways you can support them on their fresh new website.
Photos by SAME CUP.