Grandmother Cristina was a social activist in Mexico who fought against injustice suffered by those on the margins, focusing specifically on gender-based violence. The young political activist was the inspiration behind Soldadera Coffee for the Rodriguez-Garcia and Espinosa family.
“She was the voice for injustice towards others, especially women. Her tough exterior and fiery spirit challenged those injustices, while her loving and compassionate heart made people feel loved and appreciated,” explains Cesar Rodriguez-Garcia, supply chain officer for Soldadera Coffee.
Soldadera Coffee is a family-oriented small business whose goal is to bring a unique cold brew coffee to the community—with a purpose. “Soldaderas”
means woman soldier in Spanish. The working class women who joined in the efforts of the Mexican Revolutionary war from 1910 to 1920.
“The soldaderas worked alongside the male soldiers during the war; some fought in battle while others helped around the camps. It was the first time that women went against the norms in traditional times,” explains Erinna Espinosa, chief marketing officer at Soldadera Coffee.
Soldadera Coffee strives to raise awareness of the issues affecting women in our community such as gender-based violence and the wage gap. To do this, Soldadera Coffee has launched Soldadera Talk, a social media platform designed to celebrate the stories of women in leadership roles and their experiences.
“By starting conversations to bring a better understanding of each other, and the inequities faced by women, and sharing positive role models, people won’t feel the need to turn to violence to solve women’s issues,” says Espinosa.
Soldadera Coffee is currently produced in the incubator kitchen at the Downtown Market of Grand Rapids. All the product is made and packaged ready for consumption at the Incubator Kitchen, which they are able to rent out on a regular basis to keep up with demand. The coffee is an original “Cafe de Olla” (Stove-Top Coffee), made with pilonsillo (sugar cane, cloves, cinnamon, anise, water, and Central American coffee beans. All of the ingredients are organic and without preservatives.
As the business gains more support, co-founder Mario Rodriguez-Garcia along with his father, Cesar, hopes to raise enough funding for his very own facility and to be able to make more products like these.
“Every time you have a drink of Soldadera Coffee it should transport you to the world of Mexico, a place where spices and flavors are abundant. A place where women are the driving force for good, helping families and communities one step at a time,” explains Rodriguez-Garcia, a lifelong resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Look for Soldadera Coffee at your local farmer’s market, stores, and community events. Purchases of the coffee can be made online at soldaderacoffee.com.
Photos courtesy of Solderada Coffee.