Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 21 of 107

A Strong Message About Strong Women of Coffee You don't have to take our word for it that coffee has historically been a man's industry: Legendary specialty-coffee professional—and in fact the woman who coined the term "specialty coffee"—Erna Knutsen famously said of her workplace in the late 1960s and 1970s: "They were all men and they didn't think women deserved the break." While the landscape today is obviously very different from 40 or 50 years ago, a few things have remained the same: For example, most of the professionals in leadership at the top of the coffee food chain are men; men make up a statistically disproportionate segment of the competitive-barista rosters year after year; and men's voices often dominate conversations about what's new, what's best, and what's important in specialty coffee (and beyond). One coffee professional who has been active in boosting the signal for womxn and non-males in the industry is Laura Gonzalez, the force behind @strongewomenofcoffee on Instagram and the Web. The account and website is a platform for showcasing the achievements, projects, opinions, and experiences of coffee professionals all along the supply stream who do not identify as male, along with portraits of them that clearly display the diversity of what "strength" means to every individual. Laura's inspiration for the effort came during an experience common for many womxn both working in and out of the coffeesphere: "I recall sitting in a table of 15 people and noticing that I was the only female attending a meeting. I thought about how that seemed to not reflect the contribution of women and others in the industry. My noticing that made me even more aware of the efforts of women when I met them. There are so many of us doing great things for coffee." The range of womxn Laura has profiled is already impressive, and the project is still relatively young: There is a form on the SWOC website where folks can nominate their colleagues and peers to be featured, and Laura says that's one of her favorite parts—seeing people lift one another up and want to share that recognition and spread the love. Nominate your favorite Strong Women of Coffee today! @strongwomenofcoffee Peregrine Makes Espresso Accessible Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area has a vibrant Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, thanks in part to its proximity to Gallaudet University, the singular higher-education institution that uses American Sign Language (along with English) as the primary language of study, service, and communication. The nearly 2,000 undergraduates, more than 450 graduate students, and roughly 300 staff members who bring life to the campus also enjoy the experience of being at an urban university, which means that they frequent the bars, clubs, stores, restaurants, libraries, and coffee shops that D.C. has to offer. The only difference is a language barrier: How can Deaf and HH customers order coffees and muffins easily and efficiently, to be sure they're going to get what they want? Peregrine Espresso is one coffee company in town that saw this community need as an opportunity to make coffee accessible to more people: The company has hired Deaf baristas, and has always sought ways to be more accommodating to their neighbors. (Peregrine's Union Market location is directly across the street from Gallaudet.) In addition to training in ASL and even using sign language in interviews for baristas to normalize the use of both languages, Peregrine Operations Manager Allison Bouley says there are various tool kits for communication between staff and customers. "We have ASL kits at all three of our shops that include dry erase boards and markers, a dry erase menu, basic coffee vocab pictures, tip sheets for working with Deaf colleagues and for serving customers who are Deaf, and signs to use in shop to help our customers understand what's happening when they are served by our Deaf baristas." They also have some technological options available, and as a matter of fact, the first promotional video for an ASL app designed by tech company Ink&Salt was filmed at a Peregrine location in 2013: The app allows service professionals to watch videos explaining how to ask for and receive orders from customers using basic ASL, which is a far more effective (and less energy-consuming) way of communicating than simply relying on lip-reading or written instructions or responses. The app, called Speak2Sign, is both a phone-based and kiosk- or tablet-hosted signbank, using photos and videos to demonstrate signs used in ASL. They allow a user to locate whatever it is they'd like to order or discuss, and then the app demonstrates how to talk about that thing. Want to know how to sign "cappuccino"? Allison says don't sweat it, spell it: That word is usually finger-spelled. "If you have Deaf customers, you should ask them for help in building your ASL vocabulary. If you don't, you should use the ASL app! It's a great way to learn vocab, and it's well-respected in the Deaf community." What are you taking away from our awesome coffee world right now? Let us know about cool trends, fun gear, killer drinks, events, places, people—you get the idea! Email In American Sign Language (ASL), this means "coff ee." 22 barista magazine

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