November 27, 2014

Women in coffee

The Australian café industry is made up of mostly women as the main employee group, with over 50% ownership of cafes nationally.

We are now also finding many women in the front line of coffee businesses in Australia and the face of the industry is experiencing a few changes for the better. Café Culture ran a similar article five years ago when we started to notice some trend changes happening in a very male dominated industry.
Women in coffee bring their own feminine side to the work place. We all know “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” but the injection of a different way of thinking and doing things to achieve effective outcomes is certainly welcome whether it be in management and systems, to the design and culture this certainly adds to the overall success of a business.
Let us now introduce you to some stand out women in coffee in Australia and their achievements to date.


Anne Cooper
Head Roaster – Axil Coffee

anneAnne Cooper has been in the coffee industry for 21 years and has had the opportunity to work at all levels from a barista, a cafe owner, a diploma qualified barista trainer and assessor delivering and developing accredited barista training programs and competitions for baristas and franchisees.
Anne has been a good friend for over ten years. When we first met Anne had an espresso cart at the Queensland University where she learnt to become a great barista due to the sheer number of coffees she made daily. She was also very competitive I remember at the time and was a named to be reckoned with in the National Barista Competitions.
This led to Anne’s involvement in the ASCA barista competitions where she became the QLD Barista Champion and National Finalist 2006-2008, Finalist Judge at the 2009 & 2011 State and National barista competitions, and also a member of the successful Australian Trans-Tasman Barista Team.
In 2007 Anne moved into the production/manufacturing side of the industry as Roasting Production Manager for Di Bella Coffee. During this time at Di Bella she had great success with the Golden Bean Roasting Competition, winning a silver medal in 2008 and then winning the overall coveted Golden Bean in 2009. In 2010 Anne achieved the SCAA Cupping Judge Certification & Q Graders Certification before moving to New York City to take up the position of Head Roaster for Dallis Bros Coffee. During her time in the US Anne took part in the many SCAA events where she was a member of the winning team in the highly coveted Team Roasting Challenge at the 2012 Roasters Guild Retreat. She also dusted off her competition tamper and competed in the 2013 US NERBC Regional and USBC National Barista and Cup Tasters Competitions.
Anne returned to Australia high on her adventures from New York City and joined the team at Proud Mary Coffee in the role of Head Roaster. Again in 2013 whilst being in this position she took the 2013 Golden Bean Roasters Award. Since then she has moved into her current role as Head Roaster at Axil Coffee also in Melbourne.
Anne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Compak Golden Bean Roasters Competition where she has been head judge for last two years. We look forward to seeing Anne back next year as we take the Golden Bean offshore with an American version of the world’s largest roasting competition. She is the perfect advocate for the Australian coffee industry as being one of the most decorated females in the business.


Mina Ali-Anapo

MinaI first met Mina at Di Bella Coffee when it was a two person show. Mina was Phillip Di Bella’s assistant, making the deals happen behind the scenes of a fast paced, new and high energy business. She has held various roles in the business from General Manager and now GM of Marketing and Sales. She met her husband Michael at Di Bella and Michael now is in control of all of Di Bella coffees green bean procurement.
This girl is tough, not only in the board room but she is an amateur boxer and can hold her own in the ring.  It might be an unusual sport for a petite lady like Mina but with a maiden name like Ali she probably was destined to spend some time in the ring.
Her real business strengths are recognised at Di Bella Coffee. She was integral to the quick growth of this award winning business. Di Bella coffee was easily the fastest growing coffee company in Australia going from two employees to over one hundred employees in ten years. Mina played a big part in the companies approach to entering and winning awards at the Golden Bean and also supplying award winning cafes nationally. She was also part of the growth cycle of finding partners in each state for new Di Bella Roasting Houses in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Now the focus is beyond Australia, finding partners in New Zealand, China, India and Singapore to name a few. Mina is a forward thinker and has a very global view of the coffee and café industry and has always had a great eye for quality and the importance of being at the top of the business mountain. She is very supportive of her team and if they are loyal she will back them all the way in their business and personal pursuits. She was given a great opportunity at Di Bella coffee and she took this opportunity to make this company one of the best coffee businesses in the country.


Mahalia Layzell
Director – Mahalia Coffee

mahaliaThis vibrant lady has created a position in the Australian coffee industry as a professional coffee roaster. Hailing all the way from the beautiful Limestone Coast of South Australia, Mahalia Coffee is based in Robe, which is 3 hours from Adelaide. She is from Melbourne originally and cut her teeth in Hospitality as a young girl, working in the kitchens of her celebrity chef brother Steven Cumper and eventually becoming a chef in her own right.
Mahalia has come a long way since 1995 when she made the move for love, from Melbourne to Robe. Her and husband Paul opened their own café, where both worked in the kitchen. Once the business started to grow, Mahalia moved from the kitchen to front of house. With a fantastic reputation for making great espresso, Mahalia made the decision to find out more about the science behind coffee. This ultimately led her to becoming one of the country’s best coffee roasters.
Mahalia loves cooking and coffee and she saw this as a great opportunity to combine both as well as balancing her business with having a family – she does it all. Roasting coffee allows Mahalia to express her need to cook and the added accolades are just a bonus.
With great staff, suppliers and customers Mahalia continues to grow her business, just recently installing a new roasting machine. Mahalia said she is fortunate that she loves what she does, which keeps her easily motivated.
In 2011, Mahalia Coffee won the coveted Golden Bean Award, by far one of her greatest achievements.  After being voted by her peers at this year’s event as the best medium size roaster, Mahalia couldn’t be happier about the path her growing business continues to take. Mahalia said she was honoured by the Industry Choice Award and to be acknowledged by her peers was a wonderful feeling.
When Mahalia won the Golden Bean in 2011, creating a name for herself in a male dominated business she received instant respect.  She then had the prestige of this award to hang her hat on to grow her business. She has many national accounts and her marketing approach epitomises the feminine and vivacious person that she is with a playful caricature of herself on the label.  She has a warmth about her and most of the sales she has procured have been from giving excellent service and clever business support. Her original marketplace was very regional so she had a big job ahead of her, up skilling regional Australia in the art of fine coffee.
Mahalia did all this whilst she was also having a family so she juggled the position with the help of her husband Paul who is also a big part of the business now. Now a multi-award winning business, Mahalia will continue to strive for continued perfection in a cup.

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