3 Women Pioneers in the Coffee Roasting Business - Blackout Coffee Co

3 Women Pioneers in the Coffee Roasting Business

A 2012 “Roast magazine survey found only 13 percent of professional roasters were women. It’s no surprise that coffee roasting can feel like a boys’ club given that imbalance, which is why Coffee Kind wanted to take the opportunity to raise a cup to a few of the female roasters who’re making their mark on the industry.

Ritual: Lead Roaster Leslie Mah

San Francisco-based Ritual holds regular cuppings and roasting demos at their Mission District location. Ritual has bloomed over the last decade and has expanded to its current five outposts in the Bay Area. The brains behind Ritual’s roasting operation is Leslie Mah, and you can get a taste of her expertise with one of the company’s “Roaster’s Pick” coffee subscriptions.

Indigo: Lead Roaster Michelle Lucas

Indigo sets itself apart by roasting single-origin beans on vintage equipment like a German Ideal Rapid Gothot drum machine from 1951 called “Rosie the Roaster.” Indigo is based in Northampton, MA, and sells wholesale without a brick-and-mortar shop. Lead roaster Michelle Lucas is one of many women behind the wheel at Indigo.  

Equal Exchange: Lead Roaster Sarah Hrisak

Equal Exchange works to ensure women are in leadership roles at each and every stage of coffee’s journey from farm to cup. Learn more about Sarah and the other women who run the ship in their short documentary “Women in Coffee.”


Want to read up on even more women roasters? Thanks to #ShesTheRoaster, the conversation is just getting started on social media. While this is just a tiny taste of the women roasting revolution, these three pioneers are also hopefully an indicator of awesome things to come in the coffee industry. Check out the International Women’s Coffee Alliance if you’re interested in learning more, and stay in touch with us on Facebook for more awesome reads on all things coffee.


Author: Megan Freshley


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