(Editor's Note: This is a preview of Phyllis Johnson Written Article that appeared in the Roast Magazine in November / December 2018. Click here to read the full article.)
RStudies show that African Americans, as compared with other ethnic groups in the United States, are less likely to choose coffee as an optional drink. However, coffee history is associated with great investment not only in Africa but also worldwide. Ethiopia is praised as a place for coffee and we are offered some of the most valuable coffee products in the world. Africa's seizure was the primary source of coffee production in Brazil, the Caribbean and West Indies, and African farmers still play a key role in its production. So what about the fact that African Americans are only poorly linked to this long lasting continuum of coffee that is not well represented by consumers and coffee professionals? And how can we, as industry, eliminate this gap?
For nearly 20 years, I have been faced with too few African-Americans employed in this industry, whether they are internationally developed, traded, retailed, oven, machine manufacturing, training / education, marketing or other fields. However, I recently began to see some changes as the African-American becomes more visible in the sector. As part of a study from this article, I interviewed 14 other black coffee professionals and they confirmed many of my personal thoughts on the industry and how we can improve it. (You find your photos and quotes throughout the article.)
The past informs about it
Racism, inequality and the consequences of slavery are human diseases that have left overcrowded spaces with a low gender or racial diversity. The coffee industry should not avoid these complex subjects. These are not sidebar issues that are occasionally discussed by a few diverse people who were sitting outside these spaces and reaching very empathic ears against the vulnerable and everywhere between them, but remained without action. These issues are key factors that affect our industry and society as a whole. To refrain from understanding or to deal with these complicated realities is the same as the pretense that there is no coffee rust – which would have a devastating effect on the livelihood of farmers, the local economy and the world of coffee in the world. Likewise, if we continue to ignore and normalize the effects of racism and inequality in the sector, we can not wait for positive results.
Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equality Initiative for Equality, presented his views on PBS NewsHour in 2017, saying: "I do not think that the slavery ended in 1865, it only evolved. We are burdened with the history of our racial inequality … We have made progress. , but our silence condemned us. "
African Americans Choose Coffee Less
The National Coffee Association in the United States (NCA) provides research data on US coffee consumption using the annual National Coffee Drinking Trend (NCDT) survey. Created in 1950, it is the longest coffee survey in the United States. The NCDT consistently shows that, compared to other ethnic groups, African-Americans prefer coffee as their preferred drink.
For example, in the category "gourmet coffee drinks (net)" – which includes espresso drinks, non-espresso drinks, traditional coffee gourmet and ready-made coffee drinks, the 2018 poll shows that 42 percent of African Americans drink in this category compared to 64 percent Hispanic-American, 53 percent Caucasian-Americans and 59 percent Asian-American.
The NCDT summary states that African Americans have always reported a lower percentage of coffee consumption compared to Hispanic Americans and Caucasus.
One of the key areas that can explain the less involvement of some African Americans is the misconceptions about the health effects of coffee, because the summary points out that there is a general desire to restrict the intake of caffeine in exchange for drinks that are believed to contain more healthy ingredients.
Mark is also important in this equation. Producers of carbonated beverages and juices have made quite successful marketing campaigns for African-Americans, and African-Americans are over-indexing their consumption levels in these product categories. According to a Technomic Consumer Tracker survey, African Americans are over-consuming at home and out of the house from fruit juices, while 68% of African-Americans drink fruit juice once a week, compared with 55% of consumers overall. In addition, 60% of African-Americans use carbonated soft drinks once a week compared to 51% of consumers in general.
Coffee celebs usually come from middle-aged white men, but celebrity notes for carbonated beverages and fruit juices are more likely to come from young black athletes or musicians. Studies show that more women drink coffee than men, and Hispanics is the largest coffee-consuming ethnic group in the United States. As demographic data in the United States continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how marketing will take place.
These data clearly confirm the fact that African Americans are not large coffee consumers, and I believe that the coffee industry has been omitted in a number of areas, since there is no commitment. African Americans are underrepresented in the industry, which should be excellent and proud.
When I picked up a cup of coffee at the airport, I noticed that a large number of black workers worked in cafes and catering services. Most of the served customers are not in black. Standing up in line, I'm thinking of my coffee trip. I'm wondering about employees' understanding of coffee outside the drink with fake names and complicated recipes. Do they understand the history of coffee? Not a worn version, which makes everyone comfortable, but also inconveniences. Would this understanding of history give you more freedom, permission and pride? Could this increase the feeling of opportunity and, as a result, increase interest in making coffee?
[Click here to read the full article]
Phyllis Johnson is the President of BD Imports and recipient of the "Responsible Business Supplier" from 2018 "Radisson Hotel Group". Her story is shown in several books and articles. She advocates diversity and inclusion in the coffee supply chain, gender equality, economic opportunities and challenging issues about sport and coffee. She is a University of Arkansas University of Fayetteville with a Bachelor's degree in Microbiology and a John F. Kennedy School of Government from the University of Harvard, with a degree in Public Administration. Johnson is currently a member of the United States National Coffee Association, and has worked in many other coffee industry boards. She lives in Georgia with her husband Patrick. They have three children, Marks, Matthew and Maija.