Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

Coffee Data Science

Diversity in Coffee and the Coffee Industry

Let’s talk about what diversity means

Words say something, but pictures speak volumes. Often we say one thing but show something else, and it is often difficult to zoom out. However, I think coffee and the coffee industry offers a unique opportunity to learn what diversity means.

“I roast coffees from all over the world; I have a diversity in my coffee source selections (See Below).”

All images by author

What does the photo say?

Does it say diversity?

“I roast coffees from all over the world; I have a diversity in my coffee source selections (See Below).”

What does the photo say?

Does it say diversity?

“I roast coffees from all over the world; I have a diversity in my coffee source selections (See Below).”

What does the photo say?

Does it say diversity?

Analysis

The first photo showed diversity but only of Columbian coffee.

The second photo showed diversity but only of South American coffee.

The third photo showed diversity of the world.

If I show you the first photo and say I’m all about diversity, you might question what I mean. If I only have photos of Columbian coffees on my Instagram, and most of the people that work for me are Columbian, then I shouldn’t say I have diversity in coffee or company. I could say my company exhibits diversity and prides itself on diversity, but my photos that represent my products and company would tell a different story

All these sample coffee images came from the same roast.

People are like coffees, we come from all over the world. To celebrate diversity means to not just say we celebrate diversity, but it means we should see it in all the ways people interact with us. Every picture, every video, and every employee represents a company’s makeup and how diverse they are.

Not every interaction can exhibit diversity, but the collection of interactions in pictures, videos, and employee contributes to the sum of the diversity at a company.

Real World Data

Looking at the coffee industry, the majority of coffee farmers have darker skin (i.e. BIPOC), so if any company claims to be diverse within the coffee industry, they should probably have some pictures of all people.

I looked at three companies in the world of coffee, and I counted. For each, I looked at Instagram and LinkedIn, and I counted how many white people, BIPOC, and women (not split by skin color). For Instagram, I looked at a sample of their recent photos, and for LinkedIn, I looked at a sample of the people employed there.

I counted multiple posts/people in each row, and I used this table to help me collect data.

We can see the summary of these numbers here:

Overall, company C seems to be doing very well in terms of diversity. I’m sure there could be more complex ways to study diversity, but with the simplest data collection, the most basic view of diversity in these companies becomes clear.

We can modify the plots to better compare the companies.

For anyone curious on the numbers, here are the general statistics.

I’ll give you a dollar if you work at company A or B and figure out that you work there.

It isn’t news to most that the coffee industry has a lot of bias. Most of most well-known coffee people are white men, but that is not the majority of the people throughout the supply chain doing the labor to bring coffee from farm to cup.

I would love for companies to be more diverse, but if you want to claim diversity, you need to do three things:

  1. Show diversity in what images, videos, and people represent your company.
  2. Be honest with the fact that you can’t become diverse overnight, so just honestly admit that you are aiming for diversity.
  3. When you’re called out for not being diverse, don’t take it personal; own it and do better especially when the evidence is clear to any BIPOC let alone a white male.

If you like, follow me on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram where I post videos of espresso shots on different machines and espresso related stuff. You can also find me on LinkedIn. You can also follow me on Medium and Subscribe.

Further readings of mine:

My Future Book

My Links

Collection of Espresso Articles

A Collection of Work and School Stories

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Robert McKeon Aloe

Robert McKeon Aloe

1.4K Followers

I’m in love with my Wife, my Kids, Espresso, Data Science, tomatoes, cooking, engineering, talking, family, Paris, and Italy, not necessarily in that order.