I kicked off Saturday with a lecture on gender equity and coffee development. It was led by Andrew Sargent of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, a private foundation that supports grassroots projects with coffee famers. Andrew noted that, while development projects have had some success in raising household incomes, these interventions struggle to benefit women in the farming communities. This is, in part, due to access to assets, such as land, education and credit, in many coffee-producing countries in which men receive these assets. To affect change, he says, the trainings and programs like those Nuemann Stiftung organize must reach women in farming communities. They’ve made progress in this area by convincing men of the positive development outcomes when females are exposed to capacity building programs.
I also participated in panel discuss on the growth of Portland’s coffee scene and the conditions that made it possible. I’ve explored this topic in greater detail here. In short, no, DC isn’t going to become Portland overnight. But there are positive signs that excite me about our future.
Throughout the show, Public Domain operated a pop-up shop right outside the exhibit hall. It was a pretty impressive setup, with both manual and espresso brewing. I stopped by for a tasting of their Guatemala finca Santa Felisa Geisha.
But most impressive was the performance put on by DC baristas in the US Barista Championship semi-finals. Both Travis Becket (Peregrine) and Trevor Corlett (MadCap) had gone by the time I arrived at the USBC competition floor, but I made it in time to see Lindsey Kiser wow the crowd. Lindsey presented the judges with her signature drink, which involved coconut milk, passion fruit and espresso with a side of ginger cotton candy. It was a truly unique performance.