Celebrating Women in Coffee

Celebrating Women in Coffee

Women are taking an ever greater role in coffee.

At Buddy Brew, women play a vital role in what we do, on the frontlines and behind the scenes. Let’s start with the farmers from whom we source our specialty coffee beans. In many parts of the world, the business of coffee farming is still primarily the domain of men, despite women contributing greatly to the planting, harvesting and processing of this valuable commodity. 

That trend is shifting, and we are seeing more women farmers taking on leadership roles in the industry. As part of our Brew Good, Do Good mission, we intentionally source coffees from women farmers and women-owned co-ops whenever possible, and invest in them year after year to keep this trend moving in the right direction.

Our friends at Long Miles Coffee Project in Burundi, East Africa, are a big partner in that mission. American couple Ben and Kristy Carlson founded Long Miles in 2011 and are known for producing top quality Burundian coffees. They are singularly passionate about developing and nurturing the coffee industry in the region, including supporting the rising tide of women farmers. 

Goreth Ntibihoringere is one of the farmers working with Long Miles. She has six children with her husband, with whom she farms, along with both of her grandfathers. 

Often, it is only after becoming widows that women in this nation pursue working in coffee, as a matter of survival. But Goreth’s path was different. Prior to marriage, she began saving money in hopes of purchasing her own land. When her savings fell short, she bought a pig and later sold it along with its piglets and was able to buy two plots of land.⁠ Goreth now farms 150 coffee trees as well as a banana crop. “Goreth plans on buying more land soon,” the Carlsons said. “She wants to become a role model for women in coffee. We think she’s already there.”

Another Long Miles producer, Dorothée Sibomana is a coffee farmer in Burundi’s Gaharo Hill. While her husband works as a mechanic in nearby Bujumbura, Dorothée manages their coffee farming business. “Our coffee plantations mean everything to us,” she said. “It is because of those plantations I am able to provide for my family as well as send our daughter to college.”

A day’s drive north of Burundi is Rwanda, where we have also been able to invest in women farmers. The Hingakawa Women’s Association is the first coffee cooperative created to improve gender equity in the coffee business for Rwandan women. Located in the northern, mountainous terrain of the Gakenke district, the region is renowned for its coffee crops for good reason. The coffees we have sourced from the association, both natural and washed, have been among our favorites.

Honduras is another region where we are investing in women farmers. The Women Cooperativa RAOS (Regional de Agricultores Orgánicos de la Sierra) has produced some remarkable washed coffees in the Macala region. The Co-op has a mission statement that promotes gender equity, and the women are offered educational support programs, as well as open forums where they can discuss their needs and challenges in the industry.

In our eight cafes as well as in our roastery, you will find that women make up more than 60% of our staff. Many women serve in leadership roles at Buddy Brew, including marketing, HR, accounting, retail management, and senior leadership — including our Co-founder and President. 

From the women farmers we partner with in far flung parts of the world, to our baristas crafting the perfect latte, to the women on the production crew packaging e-commerce and grocery orders, women are a vital part of what makes Buddy Brew so special (and successful). 

We salute all of these women and women everywhere who are making their mark in the world. We encourage everyone to take a moment today to recognize the amazing women in their lives.