How do you take your coffee?
My ritual is to drink a cup of black coffee in the morning while catching up on emails. Only when I visit Mexico, where I was born and raised, do I indulge in a few cups of café de olla. It is prepared by boiling ground coffee, cinnamon, and unrefined whole cane sugar in an earthen clay pot. Optionally adding orange peels, anise and cloves. I can almost smell it!
Tell us about some of the challenges (and joys!) of being a coffee entrepreneur/member of the coffee community.
Some of the challenges I’ve seen include the cost of high-quality coffee beans, equipment, and accessories can be expensive and can be considered a barrier for some people who want to get into the coffee community. Also, the knowledge of this growing and sometimes complex coffee world which includes new brewing methods, trends and coffee varietals can be intimidating to people.
Despite these challenges, being part of the coffee community can also bring a lot of joy and fulfillment. For example, discovering new flavours and varieties of green beans available to offer to our customers in sustainable packaging formats.
At Club Coffee we combine the quality of our coffee while striving to reduce our environmental impact which has helped top-selling North American brands and many of Canada’s leading retailers. We recently launched AromaPak™ featuring Boardio® technology, an award-winning sustainable packaging innovation system with a proprietary technology that is designed to preserve the freshness and flavour of coffee while being paper-based and recyclable in today’s most innovative sustainable packaging.
Has the Canadian coffee landscape changed in terms of diversity & inclusion since you've started working 15 years ago?
Absolutely! For example, I’ve noticed the increase in the number of specialty coffee shops, which has brought a wider range of coffee varieties and brewing methods to the Canadian market. I believe this not only has led to a more diverse range of customers and employees, but also brought a wider appreciation for coffee as a craft. The growing awareness of the need for sustainable and fair-trade practices in the coffee industry is another example. This not only has led to a greater emphasis on sourcing coffee from small-scale farmers, particularly in developing countries, and paying fair prices for their crops as well as bringing recognition to coffee traceability.
Additionally, during this time I’ve seen efforts made by coffee companies, cafes, and industry organizations to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for customers and employees from diverse backgrounds. In terms of inclusion there has been a greater emphasis on creating a workplace culture that values diversity, equity and inclusivity. Lastly, many companies across several industries have shared they have D&I programs in place, as well as employee training and resources to promote these values.
If you could work towards ONE thing to increase diversity & inclusion in Canadian coffee, what would this be?
There are many ways to increase diversity and inclusion in Canada. As mentioned before the Canadian coffee landscape has become more diverse over the past 15 years with greater emphasis on specialty coffee, workplace culture and sustainable practices.
Increasing D&I in the workplace is an ongoing process that requires commitment and efforts across all levels. We must continue to encourage diversity in hiring practices, providing training and creating, implementing and updating policies that promote equal opportunities in the industry.