María Ospina, a woman in coffee
María shares her personal story about her integration into the coffee industry and proves that women form an essential part of the specialty coffee evolution in Colombia.
The beginning of her story
María Ospina is an environmental engineer and the third generation coffee family member. Her grandparents sold their coffee farms and emigrated to Garzon many years ago. But her father came back to the coffee production and he started to rent coffee farms. Maria continued the family tradition. She started to work at Alma del Huila Company as an environmental engineer. Her main duties were to analyze and validate the recycling of the coffee products and the ecological impact of production. Within few years they made the company sustainable. While working Maria discovered the specialty coffee production together with its enormous world of flavors and aromas. Her everyday life was filled with cuppings, trainings, certifications. After a while, the hard work brought her to the position of Quality Control Manager of Alma De Huila company.
Being a woman in the coffee world
Maria believes in equal rights. She supports women who want to work in the coffee industry by special training programs. She thinks that nowadays women play key role in specialty coffee recollection in Huila. as the women sensitivity and attention to details guarantee that the harvest will be proceeded at its best time. Maria is also working at changing the stereotype that "It is dangerous for women to work at processing stations". It is not dangerous, she says. Just like any other labor it requires special skills, she adds. Alma del Huila Company has been training women to process coffee. Many of the companies alumnus are currently applying new knowledge and skills to their work on farms.
It would be amazing to create a coffee line identified as “made by 100%" and add a special value to this line, she says. It could serve as transverse and transparent way to support women in coffee. Anyone who buys and drinks this coffee makes a contribution to equal rights for men and women.
As a matter of fact, women represent 28% of the coffee industry in Huila. We are sure that the proportion will grow and reach the desirable 50%. We support this trend.