Cill Fisher: The Sprudge Twenty Interview

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Priscilla Fisher (Photo courtesy Priscilla Fisher)

Our coverage of the Sprudge Twenty interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series continues this week on Sprudge. Read more about the Sprudge Twenty and see all of our interviews here.

Nominated by Grant Gamble

Cill Fisher is the co-founder of Floozy Coffee, an Australian coffee roasting and retail company based in Newcastle, New South Wales.

More information about Cill from Floozy Coffee’s website:

“Cill has a background in economics and women’s advocacy, and recently earned her Master’s in Economic Development based on a systematic review of women’s land rights in the coffee sector. Cill was invited to be a guest speaker at Beanstock Coffee Festival in Canada in 2018 to discuss inclusivity in the sector and has since been featured as a speaker at a number of other industry events promoting the role of women in the industry.”

“Floozy was founded in 2017 as a response to male bias in the coffee sector. Coffee roasting is male-dominated worldwide, as is the entire coffee supply chain. Cill and Kmac work to highlight and support female producers at origin, encourage other women coffee roasters, promote and train female baristas and coffee shop owners, and contribute to future gender disaggregated research within the sector. Floozy’s goal is to promote and advance the women in coffee, showcase the talents of the ladies in the industry, and train up future generations of badass coffee chicks.”

Floozy is at the forefront of fusing specialty coffee culture with feminism and social enterprise. Proceeds from both retail and wholesale coffee sales at Floozy have supported a range of women-centric charities and groups in its two years of operation, including the IWCA, SameCup, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and Carrie’s Place. Floozy’s coffee program highlights the work of emerging coffee producers worldwide, with a focus on women-owned coffee projects. Their coffee ships worldwide.

What issue in coffee do you care about most?

When my business partner Kmac and I decided to start Floozy, it was in response to the underrepresentation of women in coffee roasting. As we got deeper into our business, we discovered that gender inequality in the coffee sector was a major problem at all levels of the coffee supply chain, not just in roasting. At the core of my business and my academic work is the central theme of women’s empowerment. Floozy is focused around the empowerment of women in the coffee chain through purchasing and representation, and my research is concerned with understanding the tools and resources necessary for women in coffee to be able to empower themselves. Both of these aspects of my work contribute to a greater goal of achieving gender equality in the coffee sector.

What cause or element in coffee drives you?

My background is in women’s rights and economic development, so the persistent gender inequality at all levels of the coffee supply chain is definitely what gets me out of bed in the morning.

What issue in coffee do you think is critically overlooked?

Since writing my Master’s thesis on women’s land rights in the coffee sector, it has become really apparent to me just how little we know about the rights and roles of women in coffee producing countries. So much of what we “know” about women in coffee stems from some really outdated and statistically invalid reports. There is a dire need for some quality research into women’s contribution to the coffee sector to better inform the way we purchase and consume coffee.

What is the quality you like best about coffee?

For me, coffee has always been less about the actual drink and more about the people behind it. The people who make coffee are my favorite kind of people.

Did you experience a “god shot” or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your career?

Less “god-shot” more “god-barista” (if that makes sense which it probably totally doesn’t). First, my dear friend Clive in Armidale, who got me to cut down from a large skinny cap with two sugars to a large flat white. Then Kmac and Hal in Newcastle, who got me interested in the world of specialty coffee and trained me to order small flatties. And of course, Jacob and Peter at the Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, who introduced me to the magical world of filter coffee, tasting notes, brewing methods, and all that jazz.

What is your idea of coffee happiness?

Being able to spend time alone with a good book in a cafe that feels like home.

If you could have any job in the coffee industry, what would it be and why?

Obviously I love what I’m currently doing with Floozy, so that. I’d also love to get more involved with research, and will be kicking off a PhD next year.

Who are your coffee heroes?

When I first decided to be a coffee roaster, Talor Browne was the only female coffee roaster I knew of. I think she’s amazing and she has inspired me a lot on my journey, and I would totally say that she’s one of my heroes. Kmac is obviously one of my coffee heroes as well. She’s the one who sucked me into this industry in the first place! And of course my partner, Grant, whose passion for coffee is literally unparalleled (ask anybody).

If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Steffen Altmann, my behavioral economics professor from the University of Copenhagen. This man taught me the meaning of good research, and how to truly think critically. I’m sure I owe him a coffee or two.

If you didn’t get bit by the coffee bug, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

Before I accidentally became a coffee roaster, I was going down the path to be a behavioral labour economist. Sounds kinda boring in retrospect.

Do you have any coffee mentors?

I accidentally found myself a coffee mentor in Chris Tellez. We became besties when his cafe, Show & Tell (Kitchener, ON, Canada), bought our coffee. I flew over for a visit, we got matching tattoos, and now we chat almost every day about the struggles and triumphs of running a small business and everything in between. The first thing I see every morning when I wake up is a sign that reads “What Would Chris Tellez Do?”—powerful words to live by! Haha no but seriously the dude’s amazing and I look up to him a lot. That’s why I nominated him for the Sprudge 20!

What do you wish someone would’ve told you when you were first starting out in coffee?

I’m so stubborn that honestly it wouldn’t have mattered. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but had plenty of wins too. I think the most important thing is just not to take ourselves too seriously. And that excluding someone or looking down on them for not being Melbourne-enough is actually not that cool. We all belong in coffee, whether we know everything or nothing.

Name three coffee apparatuses you’d take into space with you.

If I can afford to go to space I can probably afford to commission a Kalita 155 in pink. And maybe my Loring. And a Nespresso machine for when things get desperate.

Best song to brew coffee to:

The Crazy Frog by Axel F or anything by the Dixie Chicks. Duh.

Look into the crystal ball—where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I haven’t even been in coffee for two years yet, so seriously, who knows!

What’d you eat for breakfast this morning?

I only eat breakfast on my days off, and they’re pretty rare, but it was super nice to actually have breakfast cooked for me by my boyfriend today! Otherwise it’s normally a flattie followed by too many cups of batch brew.

When did you last drink coffee?

Earlier today!

What was it?

First was a fun Colombian by our friends at Morgon Coffee Roasters in Sweden, and then a French press of Floozy Daddy Issues I found in the back of my cupboard that was roasted almost two months ago. (Side note: how many other coffee roasters out there forget to take coffee home with them?!)

Our coverage of the Sprudge Twenty interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series. Read more about the Sprudge Twenty and see all of our interviews here.

Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge. 

 

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