Alyza Bohbot: How to Support Female Coffee Farmers

May 23 - On The Dot

FIRST THOUGHT: Wake Up and Swig the Coffee

Last night, I slept four measly hours, interrupted by drawn-out periods of thinking about sleep. Thinking isn’t even a strong enough word for it. Longing, pining, heck, even being homesick for zzzs is more like it. We’ve all been there, right? Our alarm buzzes as we’re already wide-eyed and anticipating it. We have to go to work or make an appointment or meet some other obligation. While we hope to make up for it tonight (yeah, right), there’s only one answer for now: caffeine. Lorelai Gilmore of TV show Gilmore Girls famously demanded coffee via an IV, but since that’s yet to be FDA-approved, I guess I’ll just have to pour myself a big old mug of the good stuff!


As you groggily stumble to your coffee machine or your barista bestie, the last thing you’re likely thinking about is where that caffeine life line comes from. There are about 500 million people throughout the world who depend on coffee for their livelihood, including some 25 million who are coffee farmers. These farmers typically live and work in substandard conditions, and women, who represent the majority of coffee farmers, face additional struggles, including gender-inequality issues, neglect, poverty and even abuse.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Alyza Bohbot, Founder of City Girl Coffee Co.

OK, so you love coffee but don’t want to keep perpetuating dire situations for women. What’s a java-lovin’ gal to do? Support women-run and women-supporting coffee businesses, of course. And today’s Woman to Watch, Alyza Bohbot, has a wonderful sustainable coffee enterprise, City Girl Coffee Co., that’s a great place to start. After all, one of the company’s main goals is to bring awareness and equality to the women of the coffee industry.

Alyza knows just about all there is to know about the caffeinated stuff. Her family-run company, Alakef Coffee Roasters, has been craft roasting premium coffees since 1990. But it was an impactful encounter she had at a coffee-industry event in 2015 that emboldened Alyza to create a coffee brand that boosts business for female coffee farmers while also making a positive impact in their lives by giving back. While attending the International Women’s Coffee Alliance conference in Seattle, Alyza was particularly touched by the story of a Colombian husband-and-wife team that owned a coffee farm. After the wife was widowed, she needed a bank loan to fix a piece of equipment to keep her coffee farm afloat. But the bank rejected her simply because she was a woman.

That story stuck with Alyza and she vowed to do something to help, eventually launching her City Girl Coffee Co. brand and making it her mission to develop infrastructure that would help empower female coffee farmers to become self-sustainable while also bringing awareness to the troubling inequality within the coffee industry. City Girl Coffee Co. does this by sourcing as much of its coffee as possible from small women-owned and -managed farms and cooperatives and by donating a portion of every sale back to organizations that support the success of women in their native countries.

It’s easy to help support female coffee farmers from the comfort of your cozy couch. Simply visit the City Girl Coffee Co. website to purchase some super-tasty single-serve cups or 12-ounce bags of the company’s blends, including many organic options. You can even indulge in a remarkably affordable “sipscription,” which includes monthly delivery of two 12-ounce bags of premium coffee directly to your doorstep. It’s the perfect way to help support female coffee farmers and a female-owned coffee biz, all while indulging in a superior-quality coffee break!


Let’s sip on one last bit of caffeinated sincerity from cartoonist Stephanie Piro, who said:

“Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

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