Gender At The Cupping Table: An Exploration (Part Three)

At the cupping table, competitiveness is a recurring theme - and it can cause discomfort for people of all genders. Sho Young, a coffee educator at Ritual Coffee in SF, CA, shares that he’s experienced anxiety at cuppings.

“Being gay, but not immediately being viewed as such by strangers, I’ve found that many men view me as competition,” says Sho. “There is a thinly veiled hostility that comes with that. I could be minding my own business or make an innocuous statement about liking a certain coffee, and it would be immediately countered with an interrogation of my perception, and subsequently a dismantling of everything I thought I knew.

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Gender At The Cupping Table: An Exploration (Part Two)

Kiana Cruz, who roasts for Progeny Coffee in Berkeley, CA, says early cupping experiences impacted her confidence for years.

“Sometimes I still feel a little bit intimidated to go into a cupping, especially when I’m outnumbered in terms of gender or identity. I feel like I have to put on a different persona in cupping. Sometimes I feel like my identity is erased when that happens. It’s a struggle to feel like I can say what I want to say.”

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Gender At The Cupping Table: An Exploration (Part One)

This is the first installment in a three-part series. The following installments will be released over the next few weeks.

Jeremiah Borrego has noticed something odd. As an experienced roaster and founder of Olas Coffee in Brooklyn, NY, Jeremiah regularly cups coffee for work. And an energy, something just beyond vocabulary, keeps announcing itself when a woman approaches the cupping table.

“There’s a certain kind of attention paid to someone who’s not perceived as male,” says Jeremiah. “It’s hard to describe because sometimes it’s not overt, not something I can put my finger on or call out. They might not realize that they’re doing it, but they’re definitely doing it. And sometimes it seems like the women are uncomfortable.”

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