HomeCoffee10 Minutes With Amaris Gutierrez-Ray

10 Minutes With Amaris Gutierrez-Ray


Amaris Gutierrez-Ray talks about what’s behind the Ladies in Espresso Venture, which goals to present extra visibility to the experiences of girls in espresso.


Featured photograph by Jakub Dziubak by way of Unsplash

In search of to create group amongst ladies in espresso, Amaris Gutierrez-Ray created the Ladies in Espresso Venture (WICP), a motion that advocates for gender fairness within the espresso group by way of numerous tasks that join ladies around the globe. Partially one in all this interview, we speak to Amaris about launching the group, its areas of focus, and way more.

Editor’s observe: This interview has been edited for size and readability.

Barista Journal: Hello Amaris! To start with, I want to know extra about you and the Ladies in Espresso Venture. How did the challenge come about? Why? Who was Amaris earlier than and who’s she now?

Amaris Gutierrez-Ray: The entire story in all probability began with my upbringing as a biracial youngster (half Nicaraguan and half American) in a big, non secular immigrant household. I had many examples of robust ladies in my life. Each my mom and grandmother selected to depart their dwelling looking for one thing, something, that was higher than what was occurring of their nation. Above all, my grandmother was somebody I admired: endlessly inventive and foolish, but in addition a tough employee and critical when life obtained critical.

So, early on I noticed these pressurized opposites. The narrative of immigration within the U.S./the South was totally different than what I skilled; the narrative of girls being lower than the male head of the family was completely incorrect from what I may see … even the narrative of what Latin America was like within the motion pictures was totally different than what I knew. This taught me to belief my very own instincts and experiences and never what others thought, pushing me to pursue increased schooling and turn out to be keen and interested in what else was off-kilter in the remainder of the world.

Four women stand together in a coffee shop in front of a sign that reads "Equal Origins."
Amaris (second from proper) at a WICP x Thread x PGE screening of the documentary Gender in Espresso in Baltimore in 2019. Picture courtesy of Amaris Gutierrez-Ray.

I had been working in espresso by way of undergrad and grad faculty, and located it to be a spot the place all the things comes collectively—the worldwide story of human migration and displacement, the historical past of the world, economics, tradition, and the way we move info on to future generations. It by no means ends.

After some time I needed to find the expertise of girls in espresso. I couldn’t discover as a lot as I needed, and this discovery led me to create the group I needed for myself and for the sector. It was clear there was a spot and I felt I had the vitality to handle it. Now, a few years later, I’m much more amazed on the means ladies around the globe are in a position to be so many issues on the identical time: run their companies and deal with their households, whereas discovering the emotional vitality to present to others to create a stronger future.

Let’s speak about WICP. In the event you needed to describe the aim of the challenge in a brief paragraph, how would you describe it?

The aim of WICP is to bridge the hole between roasters and producers as a way to give extra visibility to the experiences of girls. Ladies aren’t a monolith, and neither are the international locations the place espresso is grown. For a very long time, the programs of oppression benefitted from marginalized teams resembling ladies dwelling and dealing in silos.

We goal to create group round this matter of fairness and are available collectively to share in methods which are helpful to everybody. Our most important avenues for doing which are by way of the Careers in Espresso Venture (the place we host digital panel occasions to debate improvement pathways and the way ladies are more likely to create their very own alternatives), the Story in Espresso Venture (the place we conduct and publish interviews with ladies in coffee-growing international locations), and La Molienda (an annual Secret Santa kind reward alternate to have a good time women-produced coffees and the roasters that purchase them). What’s good for ladies is nice for everybody! 

A large group of men and women pose together for a photo at a WICP panel. Some are wearing lanyards with badges on them.
The primary WICP panel in 2019. Picture courtesy of Amaris Gutierrez-Ray.

The small crew behind WICP is a self-described small group of activists that volunteer for the challenge. What number of are at present on the crew? Are all of them ladies? What does it imply to be a volunteer for WCP? And the way does this “activism” work?

I’m the one full-time member, however I profit significantly from a large group of collaborators. I’m at present engaged on a challenge with Stephanie Welter-Krause, founding father of Swelter Espresso, and Giselle Barrera, founding father of Latinas in Espresso. By this challenge, we have now discovered a gorgeous friendship, though we work in numerous coasts and international locations.

Lane Mitchell, an unimaginable advocate for gender fairness who helps and engages with many organizations, can be an unimaginable ally and collaborator. Every time I’ve an concept for a digital panel occasion, too, I collaborate with people or teams of girls—the IWCA chapter in Copan, Honduras, for instance. Volunteering is occasion or project-based and might embrace internet hosting an interview, coordinating an occasion, sharing articles or podcasts, translating stay for a Spanish language panel, and way more. 

Does the WICP focus solely on ladies in coffee-growing international locations, or additionally on ladies all through the espresso provide chain?

The main focus has all the time been on ladies in provide streams from logistics to growers, not as a lot on ladies in roles within the U.S. This isn’t as a result of I don’t really feel there’s a necessity! Fairly the other, really. Once I was studying about social impression, it appeared like one of the best ways to achieve any type of measurable or really attainable objectives was to slim my focus, and I don’t remorse it. I additionally really feel like there are a lot of superb organizations right here that create house and visibility for ladies and nonbinary espresso professionals, and a robust tradition of girls advocating for themselves—a strong kind of vitality I’d love to increase additional by way of WICP. However in fact, I’ve thrown occasions for folk right here. Final yr I threw a celebration referred to as CHINGONXS IN COFFEE as a result of I used to be at a degree the place I used to be feeling a bit bored with attending occasions that didn’t really feel like they have been designed for me or for us (there’s a robust Latinx group in espresso right here in NYC). There may be nothing like feeling recharged from being surrounded by a gaggle of people that share elements of your id. It’s a sort of therapeutic that resonates with different ladies.

Keep tuned for half two of this interview tomorrow on Barista Journal on-line.


Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior on-line correspondent for Barista Journal and a contract copywriter and editor with a major focus on the espresso area of interest. She has additionally been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, offering content material to assist educate individuals about baristas and their work. You possibly can observe her adventures at thewanderingbean.web.




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