Women in Coffee: We See You
A Mother’s Day celebration of the women who drive the coffee industry forward
From handmade cards to a year’s worth of coffee, gifts are small yet tangible ways to express recognition. At its best, gift-giving says, I see you—for the work you do, the sacrifices you make, and the generosity you practice.
Recognition is especially valuable when it goes to people who don’t receive the acknowledgment they deserve. If we had it our way, we would honor the women who drive the coffee industry (many of whom are mothers) every day of the year.
Our second installation of our Women in Coffee series showcases producers who prioritize gender equality as much as they do making delicious, sustainable coffees. When our guests buy our coffees, they’re supporting these incredible women as well as Blue Bottle, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Silvia Barretto, Brazil
Since inheriting the Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza family estate in 2001, Barretto has overseen a 75% reduction in mass farming, facilitating a complete soil transformation. An outlier in Brazil, where factory farming continues to be the norm, FAF now produces truly exceptional organic coffees, and Barretto wants to turn this practice into a family tradition by someday passing the torch to her son, Felipe.
Ana Letis Reyes, Honduras
Though Letis Reyes is still a relatively new producer in Honduras’ Santa Bárbara Department, Blue Bottle has been purchasing her remarkable coffees since her first harvest in 2015.
Through her dedication to quality, Letis Reyes is putting her remote town of San Jose Los Andes on the map. But she’s also giving back to her own community: On her little corner of Santa Bárbara Mountain, there is little income to be made outside of coffee, which means that long-distance transit is a fact of life for many local workers. A mother herself, Letis Reyes also cares for a group of children whose parents must travel in order to support their families.
As our green coffee buyer, Charlie Habegger, says, she’s “many times a mother.”
Mayra Orellana-Powell, Honduras
The local word for Honduran women inspired the title of Mayra Orellana-Powell's business, but Catracha Coffee Company empowers smallholder women in practice as well as in name. Local coffee farmers have neither the land nor the infrastructure to compete with large coffee companies, but Orellana-Powell is aware that improving the income earned per pound of coffee by producing specialty coffees can have a huge impact on the lives of local families.
For Orellana-Powell, empowerment is a family affair. Her mother, Eva Vásquez, rebuilt her entire house in the nearby region of Marcala to accommodate the extra drying space needed by the village to ensure high-quality production—and the higher prices they need to attain a better quality of life.
Ibu Rahmah, Sumatra
Rahmah is the chairperson of Ketiara, a well-known quality-focused cooperative in Aceh, Sumatra, that isn't afraid to ask for what the coffee's worth in order to pay its producers well. This is particularly important, given that many co-op members are women who were widowed during Aceh’s insurgency in the early 2000s.
With more than two decades in the coffee business, Rahmah oversees everything at Ketiara, including the quality work, milling calibration, marketing, and farmer organization. This investment shows: Regarding the co-op’s bold-tasting, and highly traceable, coffees, says Charlie, “I couldn't be more excited for their coffees this year.”
At the moment, Rahmah is educating her own children about the business in the hopes that they will eventually lead the co-op themselves.