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It’s not often you get to be graced with the presence of a female coffee pioneer.
Awarded 2019’s Woman of the Year at this year’s Women in Coffee Awards, Gina Di Brita brought along her team of equally admirable women to our breakfast gathering at South Melbourne Market as part of the Melbourne International Coffee Expo 2019.
An industry veteran, Gina Di Brita has been involved in specialty coffee for over 19 years, having founded Numero Uno Coffee Roasters in 2003. Gina has represented the Australian coffee community globally, serving as a World Barista Championship accredited judge from 2004–2015. She was also appointed Secretary of the Australian Specialty Coffee Association, from 2006–2008 and then again in 2011.
As a proud and passionate female figurehead, Gina recently established an Australian chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA). In her eyes, joining the global network is crucial to provide support and connect with woman growers across the world. “This formation is to build a stronger Australian coffee industry, because women are here to stay, and we’re going to keep growing.”
A voluntary organisation, the IWCA's mission is to empower women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives, whilst encouraging and recognising the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry.
Gina spoke on the importance of creating a united front for a purposeful goal: “If we’re united, we’re going to attract positive attention, as we’re not only highlighting and empowering women coffee growers, but opening up access to incredible coffee.”
Board Member Sarah touched on the overarching goal of the alliance: “Part of the goal for Australian members is to rise women out of poverty through awareness and support”. Sarah added “in cultures where women are economically and culturally equal, there’s a reduction in domestic and family violence against women. So there’s an absolute data correlation there.”
(above) Padre South Melbourne Market's Charlotte Lehman (second from left) chats with Melanie Mokken from UTZ & Rainforest Alliance.
Fittingly, our green coffee partners at MTC provided us with an Indonesian coffee from female coffee connoisseur Marselina Walu, a certified Q-Grader, single mother and leader in her farming community in Flores, Indonesia. Through education and training, Marselina hopes to empower other women in leadership positions and help put Flores on the specialty coffee scene.
A huge thanks goes out to our friends at Agathé Patisserie for the sweet treats and the South Melbourne Market for offering their Neff Kitchen space. To learn more about the work of the IWCA, and become a member, visit their website and Facebook page.