19 MIN

EP 02: Brazilian Women in Coffee


There are hundreds and thousands of women working away from the spotlight to promote the coffee business in Brazil. This current reality is inherited from the past, when traditionally men can be found in official documents (contracts, receipts, business negotiations) while women were invisible working on the fields with no record or paper signed by them. If you consider only documents, they don’t exist.

Nobody talked about the historical and actual omission until The International Trade Center and the Sustainable Coffee Program published reports in 2012 and 2014 stating that ‘women doing little of the field and harvest work in Brazil (highly mechanized and often alternative jobs for women)’. The reports that caused commotion in Brazil are: Coffee Exporter’s Guide (Third Edition) and Sustainable coffee as a family business – approaches and tools to include women and youth.

Brazilian women in coffee were puzzled with this information and they decided to map every single woman in the coffee chain, from farmers to traders. In order to share a little about this project and information about real production in Brazil, we invited the producer Fabíola Filinto and the barista Helga Andrade.

*If you want to learn more about IWCA research here in Brazil, click here:

Reports mentioned in this episode:

The International Trade Center published the report The Coffee Exporter’s Guide (Third Edition) in 2012. The chapter 3, page 61, the document state that: ‘In 2008, ITC conducted a survey on the role of women in the coffee sector. Twenty-five persons, mainly women, in 15 coffee producing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, provided information. The survey showed considerable differences between individual countries with, for example, women are doing little of the field and harvest work in Brazil (highly mechanized and often alternative jobs for women), but as much as 90% in some African countries (nearly all manual). Women play only a small role in in-country trading in most countries, whereas in Viet Nam this is around 50%. The data gathering was limited to 15 very different countries only, but at least made it possible to indicate a kind of ‘typical’ role of women in the sector.’
Full report here.

Two years later, the Sustainable Coffee Program published the report Sustainable coffee as a family business – approaches and tools to include women and youth. You can find at page 12 the following excerpt ‘In Brazil, where a third of the world’s coffee is produced, you find a very low percentage of women in field work and harvest, due to the high level of mechanized farming.’
Full report here.

Credits for the audio’s excerpts used in this episode:

The Coffee Song by Frank Sinatra
Daria Illy talked about the first conference for Women in the World of Coffee in this institutional video.

The voice in this video belongs to Yuliana DolokSaribu, a producer in Sumatra. This episode is about Brazilian women in coffee, however, her speech describes women in coffee realities in different parts of the world and in Brazil too. The male voice belongs to Sam Filiaci, Starbucks coffee supplier and this is an institutional video that Starbucks produced in 2016.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) promoted business-to-business meetings on the sidelines of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual event from 9-12 April in Seattle, Washington, in 2015. In that occasion, women coffee entrepreneurs from Africa and Latin America stand to sell 378 tons of coffee, worth $1.25 million.

The excerpts published in this episode are from this video and the speakers are:
1 – Mirian Klas Rothert, coffee farmer at Pioneer North of Paraná in Brazil.
2 – Dorienne Rowan-Campbell from Roman’s Royale in Jamaica.
3 – Jake, Elster, CEO of Crop to Cup Coffee Importers in the United States.
4 – Mary Allen Lindemann, Co-owner of Coffee By Design inthe United States.
5 – Celeste Fumagalli coffee farmer at Gold Grains in Guatemala.


Fabíola Filinto, co-owner of Santa Margarida farm and Martins Café.
Helga Andrade, barista and International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) member in Brazil.


Depois que a The International Trade Center e Sustainable Coffee Program publicaram em relatórios oficiais que a presença da mulher quase não existe na cafeicultura brasileira, questionamentos sobre a questão de gênero na produção de café começaram a surgir.

Para falar sobre o assunto, convidamos a produtora de café Fabíola Filinto e a barista Helga Andrade. Durante a conversa, algumas reflexões são feitas e o projeto de livro que mapeará a presença das mulheres brasileiras na cafeicultura foi apresentado.

Se você quiser ler os relatórios na íntegra, acesse os links acima.

Short Cut

If you don’t have time to listen to the episode, we prepared a nice short cut with important topics so you can go straight to the point that you are interested.

  • 01:05

    Meet the guests: Fabíola’s and Helga’s introduce themselves and their history with coffee.

  • 06:26

    Let’s talk about these international reports.

  • 16:21

    The IWCA Brazil’s project is mapping all the Brazilian women working in the coffee chain. Learn more how you can help with this survey.

2 comentário

  1. Túlio Fernando disse:

    Mesmo eu não falando inglês, ouço os episódios. Está me ajudando na compreensão da língua norte-americana!

    Sugestão: faz um episódio tipo um dicionário explicando sobre os termos utilizados no meio do café e como são em português e em inglês. Modo de falar e de escrever… Algo marromenos assim rsrs

    1. admin disse:

      Opa! Além de aprender sobre café, você está praticando outro idioma.
      Pensa num podcast eficiente!! hahahaha
      Sugestão anotada, vamos considerar para futuros episódios 😉

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