"Coffee is not just for white people."
When I saw Oodie Taliaferro compete, I thought I was hallucinating. But I was seeing the future happen.
For years, I thought of competition as an unfortunate box I had to check on the road to credibility. Unfortunate, but immutable, like the weather.
I knew a few women who spoke publicly about serious cultural issues with competition, and they were tangibly shaken to do so.
I was amazed then, and I was amazed now.
Glowing from the competition lights, shining with ease and professionalism, Oodie pulled no punches. They discussed the lack of racial diversity in US specialty coffee, and structural elitism throughout the industry.
As an example of this structural elitism - the majority of successful barista competitors are non-baristas, because most working baristas don't have the financial resources to compete at all.
Rather than grandiloquizing the judges, Oodie praised the support of their community, and working baristas everywhere. I was seeing someone whose care for community, and for marginalized workers, couldn't be compromised for any number of points.
Oodie was a real working barista, in competition through the support of their community, a person of color, and fearlessly telling an institution I'd long accepted as the weather - to change.
And just when I thought this couldn't get any more surreal, Oodie smiled and said, "Coffee is not just for white people."
That's when I lost my shit, maybe blacked out?
The year I competed, I worked myself sick for the four unknown strangers who would judge my routine.
At that time in my life, it felt daring just to compete with a variety that was part Robusta.
I never, ever, ever would have considered facing the judges and telling them, "Coffee isn't just for white people."
Later on, I asked Oodie if I could put their words on a pin, and they didn't read for my message for a month, while I tried not to overthink it lol.
But when they messaged back, they said yes!
Grandiloquized: believed by some, including myself and presumably others, to be a real word.
Pins are 1" and priced on a sliding scale. Just choose the price that is comfortable for you. My goal is to make each item as accessible as possible, to folks from all different parts of the coffee industry. It works because the community truly observes the honor system: those who are able to pay more make it possible for others with less resources to pay less.
Every order is hand-packed with care by me, Umeko, in my bedroom in West Oakland. I usually spend Sundays packing orders, and ship out on Mondays.
Profits from most sales go toward my labor for packing, shipping, admin, design, and writing (check my coffee blog!) - *except* for products labeled Solidarity.
For these items, 100% of profits go to the nonprofit organization named in the product description. All Solidarity items are marked with a 💞.
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to message me!
follow me on Insta if u want: @umeshiso_
(That's where I share new stuff for the shop 😊)
For nerdy posts about coffee, check out the blog: https://umeshiso.com/blog
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