Two Bay Area coffee professionals have launched an independent events organization called Queer Coffee Events (QC), with a debut event scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Counter Culture Coffee training center in Emeryville, California.
Co-Founders RJ Joseph and Ellan Kline — who hold professional titles with CCC and San Francisco’s Ritual Coffee Roasters, respectively — say the goal is to host additional events around the country. According to the QC mission statement, a goal is to “support and amplify queer coffee workers in all sectors from all backgrounds, including but not limited to people who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, gay/lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, intersex, two-spirit, and asexual, especially folx from those groups who are also people of color, indigenous people, immigrants, and/or people with disabilities.”
“For a long time we’ve been talking about intentional community organizing, specifically for those whose interests aren’t always represented by the broader coffee and labor communities,” Joseph told Daily Coffee News via email. “This idea crystallized watching our queer friends go through the fallout from SCA’s Dubai decision and Deferred Candidacy Policy. It was hurtful for so many of our friends, but we feel supported in so many ways by our various social networks that it wasn’t as hard a blow. We wanted others, not just in the Bay but all over the country and world, to be able to have that, and that’s why we decided to start QC and make it an organization that wouldn’t only focus on the Bay Area.”
Added Kline, “QC is meant to be a space where we can be unapologetic about our queerness and our love of coffee and show that coffee organizations like the SCA need us way more than we need them.”
With a panel full of Bay Area coffee luminaries, QC’s debut event is called “The Future of Coffee: Where We’re Going and What it Will Take to Get Us There.” Joseph said the subject was made intentionally broad.
“I wanted to leave room for panelists to talk about social issues if they wanted, or not,” Joseph said. “At prior panels that specifically centered marginalized voices, panelists were always asked to focus on their otherness, so I wanted to leave room for panelists to steer in that direction if they want, but also leave room for a political, economic, or environmental approach.”
Future QC events may be inspired by issues raised in the debut event, or might perhaps include competition elements or other hands-on elements such as a “create your own cocktail or mocktail night,” the organizers said.
“I’m excited for our first event, but I’m really excited to see how the organization grows,” Kline said. “I think both our hopes is to see this grow into an event supported by the grassroots efforts of queer folks across the country.”