Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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F O A M : N E W S + T R E N D S JEN APODACA OF #SHESTHEROASTER ON THE CAMPAIGN'S DEVELOPMENT AND FUTURE WHEN I CAUGHT UP with Jen Apodaca, founder of the #shesth- eroaster hashtag and movement, she was, fi ttingly, in the midst of roasting. "OK, let me just mark fi rst crack," Jen told me as I was asking my fi rst question. A few seconds passed, during which I heard the churning of the roaster and the sizzling pop she'd been waiting for. "I'm good now," she said, laughing. Jen started roasting in 2005 after spending time with a com- munity of coffee-growing Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. Since her start as a roasting apprentice at the funky Pacific Northwest resort group McMenamins, she has gone on to work for roasters Ecco Caffe, Blue Bottle, and Intelligentsia Coffee. She currently serves as director of roasting for The Crown in the Royal Coffee Lab and Tasting Room in Oakland, Calif., and volunteers as sec- ond vice chair for the recently unified Coffee Roasters Guild. The #shestheroaster hashtag campaign grew legs at the 2016 United States Roaster Championship—a competition traditionally dominated by men—held in conjunction with the annual Specialty Coffee Association Expo. Jen's aim was to "bring visibility to wom- en… we want them to recognize their own expertise and know they are the experts they're looking for." The idea of lauding women skilled in roasting who were not being valued for their talent stemmed from Jen's own experience speaking with women roasters. "I was trying to convince women to be in the roasting compe- tition or to seek leadership positions or teaching positions…and every time I asked them, they were like, ' Well, I'm still learning,'" she says. Jen would tell them, " You have so much to offer," and would encourage them to volunteer in order to get more familiar with the industry and competition. The hashtag campaign was a way to both bring women roasters into the industry's conscious- ness, and to build the confidence of women roasters who had the skills to assume mantles of leadership but were putting them off. "My big secret about #shestheroaster," Jen begins faux-conspirato- rially, "[is to] fi rst, encourage more women to roast coffee…second, to convince them to become roasting mentors and teachers…[and] third, to inspire more women to start their own roasting companies." It caught on big time—the industry was ready for it. Jen and her roaster colleagues Talor Brown of Oslo, Norway roaster Talor & Jør- gen and Joanna Alm of Drop Coffee in Stockholm met to discuss the future of women in roasting. They decided to name their new organi- zation after the successful hashtag and began selling T-shirts to raise money. Jen attended coffee events around the country hawking the shirts, which she designed herself, and talking to as many women as she could about the movement. She suddenly found herself inundated with offers from people wanting to volunteer for #shestheroaster. One of those offers came from Beth Beall of Texas Coffee Traders, who called Jen with the idea of a grant designed to fund one person's #Shestheroaster organizers, supporters, and scholarship recipients gathered at the Coff ee Roasters Guild Retreat in August. Pictured from le : Jen Apodaca, founder of #shestheroaster; Baylee Engberg, partial scholarship recipient; Beth Beall, #shestheroaster scholarship sponsor; Karla Quiñones, partial scholarship recipient; and Amanda Amato, #shestheroaster staff . PHOTO BY DANIEL MENDOZA 22 barista magazine

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