Women in Coffee: Innovating and Thriving
It's International Women's Day! And at Lazy Bear Tea we have lots to celebrate!
Women are critical drivers of coffee production around the world. For example, in Colombia around 30% of coffee growers are women. And we're not talking about coffee pickers, who are also incredibly important to the magic of Arabica coffee (which needs to be carefully hand-picked throughout the year!). The women we are referring to today are the women own and operate their own coffee farms, and employ increasingly more sophisticated solutions to the challenges they are encountering in the 21st century: climate change, urbanization, youth migration away from agriculture, to name a few. Experts have noted that women tend to adopt technical assistance more readily and efficiently than male coffee growers, and that when given choices about where resources should be invested, they are notably forward-looking and supportive of innovation instead of status quo investments in traditional infrastructure.
This is no surprise to us. The women coffee growers we have met are bada$$ dreamers. When we visited Belen de Umbria a few months ago, we were lucky to meet a group of women coffee growers who are innovating every day to new ways to grow better coffee, use natural resources more efficiently, and put the coffee fruit to use.
They told us about the community wet mill they are using to centralize the processing of their beans, which allows them to use techniques that drastically reduce water use. They are experimenting with renewable energy to assist the drying process. They are handcrafting products from the coffee fruit, like jams and hair care products. They showed us their most recent project, which involves composting coffee fruit to then use as fertilizer. And yet with all these endeavors, there would still be massive piles of tons of coffee fruit that would be wasted, or that they would even have to pay to get off their property.
To say they were excited to hear of the potential to use that coffee fruit in our cascara teas would be an understatement. Coffee growing is difficult, labor-intensive work. To see so much of it wasted is painful and can be avoided with innovation we're seeing from these women and others working to transform the coffee value chain.
We're proud to be a woman-led company and to be exploring opportunities to do business with other women taking on the world.
On this #InternationalWomensDay, we celebrate all women and thank all the women who inspire us to live and lead ambitiously to create a better world.