In honor of Women's International Day, we want to celebrate the history of women in the coffee industry and the important role they have played in shaping the industry we know and love today.
For centuries, women have been involved in every aspect of coffee production, from cultivating and harvesting the beans to processing and roasting them. Despite their significant contributions, women's roles in the coffee industry have often been overlooked and undervalued. Women were often excluded from leadership positions and decision-making roles, and their labor was often underpaid.
One important figure in the history of women in coffee is Melitta Bentz. Bentz was a German housewife who invented the first coffee filter in 1908. Tired of the bitterness and sediment that came with traditional coffee brewing methods, Bentz experimented with different materials until she found a way to create a filter using paper. Her invention revolutionized coffee brewing and is still widely used today.
Erna Knutsen is credited for inventing the term "specialty coffee" in 1974, which is now commonly used in the coffee industry. She was a veteran trader and coffee expert who was interviewed by the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal where she first used the term. Born in Norway in 1921, she and her family immigrated to New York City in 1926.
Another important figure in the history of women in coffee is Kimberly Easson. Easson was the first woman to win the United States Barista Championship in 2009, and she went on to represent the United States at the World Barista Championship that same year. Easson's win was significant not only because she was the first woman to win the championship, but also because it highlighted the skill and expertise of women in the specialty coffee industry.
Women play a vital role in the coffee industry today. Women-led cooperatives and organizations are promoting gender equity, providing training and education opportunities, and empowering women in coffee-producing communities. At Moii Coffee, we fully support these efforts.
As we celebrate Women's International Day, let's remember women's contributions to the industry and renew our commitment to creating a just and
Happy International Women's Day!