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Jenn Chen
SF-based freelance coffee marketer, writer & photographer. Inspired by donuts, colors, and culture. / @thejennchen

Or your Asian friend or Japanese girlfriend or your study abroad in China.

Prefacing with: I do not want to hear about your shock. I don’t want to hear about your apologies. Express that to your white friends. I don’t want to hear about how you or your friends aren’t like this. I fucking guarantee you know someone like this.

I haven’t been able to wear this shirt out yet but what a perfect time to wear it in a photo. Two nights ago, I saw the breaking news roll in and very actively compartmentalized it until the next day. Tbh, I was numb and reaction-less. Should I be angry? Should I be…

I would like the opportunity to be mediocre.

I would like to be able to fail and not suffer any consequences.

Like, be average and underwhelming and just middling in work performance. This is a sentiment that I have generally felt for at least the last half-decade. If it were to happen, it would of course be in a post-pandemic, COVID–19 herd immunity world. A world where people aren’t fighting to keep jobs or losing jobs or dealing with the worst people imaginable when dining out.

Depending on how and where you grew up, you might have experienced this acceptance…

Below is an excerpt from a work in progress.

Cultural guilt is:

  • knowing names of ingredients only by sight and a taste description (“that crunchy cucumber thing”)
  • someone else naming a dish that you grew up eating but never knew the name of
  • recognizing when something is in a language but you can’t read it
  • spoken to as if you knew a language and haltingly, uttering an accented reply
  • knowing what you want at a butcher shop but not having the words to ask for it

It would be 15 years before I made mooncakes again. I’d moved to San…

A copy of this email was sent to the SCA Board on November 13

Hi SCA Board,

I’m writing to express my extreme frustration, dissatisfaction, and disappointment at your recent announcement regarding hosting a world event in Dubai.

This email is three-fold:
1) The decision itself
2) The communication of the decision
3) US biases

1) The decision itself

There is a severe lack of transparency on how the Board operates and what has driven the decision. At the first announcement of Dubai as a host location, I hope several of you questioned what happened in the decision-making process of venue vetting.

With the initial pause of event planning, I saw a few Board members online reach out…

Script of my Tamper Tantrum NYC talk

In September, I spoke at Tamper Tantrum NYC about power dynamics, using anonymized, solicited stories to illustrate my points. This is my script (remember, it was written to be read aloud, not on paper). This is not an exact word-for-word of my talk, since I only used notes, not the script. I’ve added in my slides, because I’m pretty damn proud of the LEGO cafe I made. I also added in reference links.

The above video & audio is courtesy of Tamper Tantrum, where you can also view the other presenters from that day. When the entire day’s worth of…

Diversity is not a trend. It’s not an idea that you can pick up at the moment and put down whenever you want. It’s not a hot topic, because that implies that it will go away.

Diversity is not something you give lip service to,
encouraging it,
discussing it,
and at the end of the day, wrap it up in a box to store away with all of your other corporate initiatives.

It’s not a convenient concept that is used to further your brand, personal or corporate. It should be a no-brainer, because diversity makes us smarter.

Diversity is not…

I am speaking at Tamper Tantrum’s first US appearance in September. My topic will be about power dynamics: understanding them and identifying various solutions to ease them.

I’m interested in hearing your stories about how power dynamics have affected you in your professional coffee career.

Power dynamics are in play in a myriad of ways: manager<>barista, client<>consultant, barista<>customer, just to name a few. Power dynamics also intersect at racism, sexism, and many other points.

Here’s an example of power dynamics, in the form of sexual empowerment vs sexual objectification.

Previously titled: “Follow up to gender and racial equity in the coffee industry”

Tl;dr: Most people actively read & sympathized with my previous article, but others ignored the premise. I examine the common responses. Some asked for more action items & those are included, too.

The piece linked above was my very first personal essay on intersectional feminism that had any sort of public reach. I didn’t realize I had to throw in a huge paragraph of disclaimers. Apparently, without disclaimers, people like to pick apart everything you write. So here we go.

That giant paragraph of disclaimers.
I write from a place of privilege. I work for myself. I have no worry that…

Intersectionality is a word I learned only recently. It puts a label on what I feel a little too often when I’m out and about in the world.

I’ve played with the topic of this post for almost a year now. Every time, I struggle with what is too much to share and how much possible harassment I’m willing to deal with.

In Chicago, I would routinely receive gendered street harassment. Five times daily seems like a conservative estimate, especially when using public transit. Racial street harassment was about once a week. San Francisco isn’t without this, either.

We’re staying in New Orleans for this second installment of Boss Ladies of Coffee. There was a real sense of community when I was there in the Crescent City. As you may well know, service industry workers are the true insiders on the food & drink scene. When I asked Reneé of Church Alley for other cafe recommendations, she pointed me to Sólo Espresso.

Sólo Espresso is owned by coffee industry veteran Lauren Morlock. I was able to grab her in between customers for a quick portrait and later, an email interview.

Jenn Chen

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