The best part of waking up… Who are we kidding, the only thing getting us up is COFFEE. So many of our morning routines require a cup of java before anything else can be done. The rich scent arouses our senses before the first sip
But how does the delightful brew become the caffeinated fuel running our day to day? It all starts with a tiny seed originally discovered in Ethiopia. There is a lot of skill required to take a simple bean and turn it into a delicious cup of coffee.
We had the chance to work with Leslie Mah, the roaster and head of operations for Sudden Coffee, to represent her field for our project, Women’s Work.
Leslie’s passion for coffee has brewed since she was a child and channeled that interest into a thriving career which is quite a feat in a male-dominated industry. In 2012, “Roast” Magazine conducted a survey that found only 13 percent of professional roasters were female.
“You can’t taste the gender of who roasted the coffee. That always just made me laugh. I don’t taste a cup of coffee and go, ‘Wow. That’s a male perspective’.”Leslie Mah
Leslie faced many challenges when she first starting her career. However, she quickly began to understand the nuance of being close to the roaster and soon was in sync with the machine.
Soon she became flexible and understood that every coffee has its own personality. A roaster helps the bean express itself through patience and a trained palate. Neither of those traits depends on gender. In 2016 Leslie proved how precise her pallet is with her 2nd place win at the US Cup Tasters Championship.
“I wanna stay in coffee. I wanna be in coffee no matter what. And I want to continue to use my palate and my love of sharing taste with the world. If I could, I would roast forever.”Leslie Mah
We find that so many times women are denied even the chance to prove their skills. A woman’s inability to lift a 150 lb bag of coffee beans over their head doesn’t prevent them from creating a delightful cup of Joe and Leslie is proving that fact everyday.