2021 has already been exceptionally rough for the trans and non-binary community. We have lost dozens of community members to fatal transphobic violence, disproportionately impacting trans women of color. Legislators around the country have proposed and passed anti-transgender legislation at a truly unprecedented rate, the majority of them specifically targeting trans and non-binary youth.
In the wake of so much tragedy, you may be wondering how you, just another Sprudge reader living in an exceedingly overwhelming world, might be able to help. First, you can contact your congresspeople to express your absolute outrage about the lack of protections and onslaught of violence against the trans community— then, you can take steps to celebrate everyday trans and non-binary excellence.
Rather than supporting Rainbow Capitalism, I’m proposing you instead consider driving your dollars directly to trans and non-binary people in the coffee industry. Below is a list of incredible businesses owned by trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit people where you should totally spend that hard-earned cash.
NEW MATH COFFEE | Mikey Rinaldo (they/them)
Mikey Rinaldo launched New Math Coffee at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, after years of working professionally as a production roaster. As an Asian, non-binary coffee professional, Rinaldo had long dreamed of highlighting and supporting producers and co-ops in Asia, a coffee growing region that is often underrepresented and under-appreciated. As such, New Math features a delicious lineup of exclusively Asian coffees that are sure to make coffee drinkers far and wide reevaluate what they can expect from this region.
In solidarity and support for historically marginalized communities, New Math also donates a substantial portion of proceeds to various non-profit and mutual aid organizations. Recent recipients include Brave Space Alliance—Chicago’s first Black, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center—and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
QUEER WAVE COFFEE | Cheyenne Xochítl Love (she/her)
As a 28-year veteran of the coffee industry, Cheyenne Xochítl Love had a plethora of experience from which to draw when launching Queer Wave Coffee. After years of feeling unsupported, demeaned, and taken advantage of by her employers, she knew she wanted to build something different.
As a fervent anti-capitalist, Love had never envisioned herself as a business owner. She reconciles this apparent incongruence by intricately weaving her identity as an Indigenous, Two-Spirit, non-binary trans girl and her passion for social justice into all aspects of her brand. Through social media and interviews, Love publicly shares her commitment to dismantling patriarchy, white supremacy, and other forms of oppression in both her personal and professional life. In the future, Love says Queer Wave Coffee will provide free coffee education and job placement for BIPOC and trans folks.
Queer Wave offers both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, named “Landback” and “Reclamation” respectively, as a nod to the company’s commitment to social justice.
WEIRD CITY COFFEE | Jess Mill (she/they)
Weird City is more than just a roastery—it is a “beacon for my fellow freaks,” says owner Jess Mill on their decision to launch the “bright, fun, maybe a little tacky” cottage roastery in Sacramento. Mill and Weird City designer Kit Bear (they/them) are all too familiar with the experience of feeling excluded at work, so they approach each aspect of Weird City coffee with inclusivity in mind.
Central to the company’s branding is a series of short stories and illustrations calling on all “weirdos” in coffee to come join the community at Weird City, a gathering place for any and all who have felt othered or ostracized by the status quo. These stories are Mill and Bear’s way of letting consumers know what their company represents, while maintaining a lighthearted and fun feel to their branding.
For the month of June, Weird City will be donating 10% of their profits to the Sacramento Gender Health Center.
MINA’S WORLD | Sonam Parikh (she/they) and Kate Egghart (she/her)
Mina’s World was built on the excitement of shared dream: founders Sonam Parikh and Kate Egghart wanted to create a space where their local community of artists, musicians, youth, and queer and trans folks could safely gather and form meaningful connections.
The folks at Mina’s World want to be known for creating a safe and welcoming environment where “amazing humans” can gather to consume a delicious product served by kind people. Each member of the Mina’s team has a unique and varied skillset that sets them apart.
Parikh and Egghart’s passion for helping their community extends far beyond their cafe doors. They maintain consistent involvement in mutual aid efforts around their city, setting aside a percentage of profits for donations. They love to support Coalition for Black Trans Economic Liberation (CBTEL), a West Philadelphia-based mutual aid network seeking to redistribute wealth to Black LGBTQ+ people, as well as the People’s Fridge.
GLITTER CAT BARISTA | Veronica P. Grimm (she/her)
“Chaotic and colorful queer energy” is a core tenet of Glitter Cat Barista’s programming, and none exemplifies this more than founder Veronica P. Grimm herself. While competing in the 2018 US Barista Championships, Grimm found herself disheartened by the profound lack of representation for historically marginalized coffee workers.
Grimm founded Glitter Cat with the dream of creating space and opportunities for marginalized voices to excel in competition. As an out trans woman herself, Grimm fights with every ounce of her being to pave pathways to liberation and break down barriers for those to whom opportunities to compete are routinely denied or gatekept.
Glitter Cat provides free training and professional support to TGNB coffee professionals, who are an integral part of every aspect of Glitter Cat’s programming. They also routinely create solutions to support participants through financial hardship, both in and outside of competition.
SILVR COFFEE CO | Meech Molina (they/them)
Meech Molina was inspired to launch Silvr Coffee Co after witnessing a profound lack of public support for social justice movements among some of their favorite companies. They had long been disheartened by the lack of queer and trans representation in the business world, and they ultimately decided to become the representation they so rarely saw.
From launch, Molina sought out to prioritize kindness, understanding, accessibility, and inclusivity in each detail of their business. By using inclusive language, Molina aims to make folks feel included and welcome. By developing a simple, highly visual brew book, they aim to make coffee more accessible to those who may be confused by traditional brewing tutorials. By selling full coverage t-shirts, they hope trans and non-binary individuals can enjoy wearing them without fear of revealing their binders, compression tops, or breast forms.
MÁQUINA COFFEE ROASTERS | Gabriel Boscana (he/him)
“Listen to their story,” urges Gabriel Boscana, the owner of Coatesville, PA-based Máquina Coffee Roasters. “It’s truly amazing how many beautiful coffees I have found because I made the time to listen to someone and their story.”
Boscana extends this philosophy to the rest of his business, always seeking to understand and support rather than judge.
Máquina demonstrates their commitment to gender equity through their support for women in producing countries as well as Máquina’s donations to Planned Parenthood, which offers a broad spectrum of inclusive services to women and trans folks. Through Máquina, Boscana has also partnered with various trans-focused services to provide coffee and sponsorships to the community.
SNOWDRIFT COFFEE | Ant Walach (they/them)
The pursuit of balance is a recurring theme in Ant Walach’s personal and professional life.
Walach launched Snowdrift Coffee in 2017 alongside their partner, Rita, the pair striving to achieve a satisfying work-life balance. They designed their business such that they could prioritize self-care while still bringing in a steady, sustainable income and delivering a high-end, accessible coffee experience.
As a gender-fluid trans person living in rural Illinois, Walach has struggled to balance a sense of safety among their politically conservative neighbors with a desire to be visible in the local LGBTQ+ community. Walach contends with this by generating opportunities specifically for marginalized coffee workers, most notably by offering an Intro to Roasting Class at no cost to BIPOC or LGBTQ+ participants, with preference given to TGNB+ folks. These classes are currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Purchase coffee or become a wholesale partner by visiting Snowdrift Coffee’s official website.
UMESHISO | Umeko Motoyoshi (they/them)
“After a decade of being gaslit by coffee bros, I wanted to flip the cupping table,” explained Umeko Motoyoshi when asked about their inspiration for launching Umeshiso. “Marginalized people don’t need to change how we show up for cuppings; cupping needs to change how it shows up for us.”
If you are even somewhat active on social media, you have likely seen Motoyoshi’s signature rainbow cupping spoons increasingly scattered across your timeline. To many, including Motoyoshi themselves, these spoons have become a symbol of empowerment—a reminder that marginalized people belong at the table.
As the sole owner of the self-proclaimed “queerest spoon company in the world,” Motoyoshi remains determined to change the coffee industry for the better. They do so both by using their social media platform to uplift marginalized voices in the industry, and by launching various fundraising campaigns to give back to the community. Most recently, Motoyoshi launched the Get Psyched initiative along with fundraising partner GoFundbean, which aims to provide free psychiatric care to coffee workers.
Arielle Rebekah a freelance journalist and creator of Trans and Caffeinated. This is Arielle Rebekah’s first feature for Sprudge.
Photos provided by the coffee companies, used with permission