The Future is Female – A Conversation with Barista Magazine’s Sarah Allen Panelist at Barista Nation NOLA
Need another great reason to attend the Barista Nation NOLA event? Two words, Sarah Allen.
In preparation for our upcoming event, we wanted to share a conversation we had with her about Women in Coffee. She’s not only our good friend, event sponsor and colleague, she is the Co-Owner and Editor-In-Chief of Barista Magazine. Just so happens, she is also our panel moderator of The Future is Female : A Further Conversation panel at the event.
Sarah is an accomplished journalist and stays on the pulse of what’s happening in the coffee industry at large, which is why we wanted to ask her a few questions about the topic of her panel at Barista Nation this summer. We also wanted to find out her take on some emerging trends. Check out what she shared with us…
1.) Can you tell us what you’ve been up to in the industry lately?
We travel for work all the time, so that’s a lot of what I’ve been up to lately. I’m just back from Coffee Fest Dallas, and headed to Dublin, Ireland, in a couple of days to attend and report on the World Barista Championship. We’re also so excited about the recent release of the June+July issue of Barista Magazine, which has a lot of content devoted to young women working as baristas and coffee retailers, a subject I’ll be addressing with my panel discussion during Barista Nation New Orleans.
2.) What is the topic of your panel at Barista Nation, NOLA?
The topic is, The Future Is Female: Further Conversation. Among the barista community’s current hot-button topics is the question of equity for women baristas, cafe owners, and other front-of-the-house professional coffee positions. In this panel, five specialty-coffee leaders come together to discuss how they created their success, confronted gender-associated challenges, and made the decisions that got them to where they are today. Panelists: Jenny Bonchak, owner of Slingshot Coffee in Raleigh, N.C.; Anderson Stockade, QC director for Zephyr Coffee in New Orleans; Lauren Morlock, owner of Sólo Espresso in New Orleans; and Reneé Claire Blanchard, owner of Church Alley Espresso Bar in New Orleans.
3.) What do you see as the most important emerging trend for women in the coffee industry?
Good question—I wish I could answer it! There is just so much going on in specialty coffee, and specifically within the barista community, at any one time that I don’t know if I can identify one emerging trend. I just got some feedback from a barista the other day who said that, after reading the “Future Is Female” issue, she felt inspired to speak up to her boss about how she feels slighted and belittled by her male coworkers. When she talked to her boss, he was very receptive, and had the idea to talk to a regular—who happens to be a psychologist—about coming in for a group session with the staff to better explain gender equity and best workplace etiquette. It was amazing to hear that. I would hope that women speaking up isn’t a “trend,” but rather, something that’s changing in a big way right now. I think this is a very important moment in time for young women in coffee retailing.
4.) In your opinion, who would benefit the most by attending Barista Nation NOLA, and why?
Barista Nation is one of my favorite gatherings all year because it’s so inclusive—anyone and everyone working in coffee would benefit from attending this day-long event filled with educational sessions, hands on workshops, in depth discussions, and lots of community building. Of course, it’s geared toward retailers and baristas, but roasters, green buyers, trainers, quality control managers—anyone working in coffee has a place at the table at Barista Nation. This is really all about community.
And to hear Sarah live, get your tickets to the event here.
Sarah Allen is the editor-in-chief and co-owner of Barista Magazine, an internationally distributed cultural, business, and educational journal for the specialty-coffee industry founded in 2005. Sarah earned a bachelors degree in English from the University of California in 1995, and went on to earn a masters in journalism with honors and distinctions from the University of Oregon in 2000. She lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband, Ken, who founded and operates Barista Magazine with her, and their two dogs, two cats, and two fish.