Coffeecionado is a coffee shop located on the South Side of San Antonio owned by a remarkable lady named Patricia Butler. The coffee shop, residing at 502 W Mitchell St, opened a little less than 2 years ago selling a wide variety of coffee-centered drinks. Butler, who is a Colombian-born San Antonian, embarked on this venture wanting to accomplish a central goal: to help women thrive both locally and globally.
Butler’s desire to help women who lived and worked in unfortunate circumstances stemmed from the understanding that around the world women are being subjected to a darker side of the coffee industry. Unknown to most people, is a side of the coffee industry that consists of a system that repeatedly takes advantage of women farmers and their children (who also work in the fields). Most of the time this system only allows women to make enough money to survive. Women made significantly less than their male counterparts on coffee farms.
“It is the ones who picked the most coffee that are the ones who got paid the most,” Butler said.
In addition to making less money, these women rarely own farms of their own because in other countries it can still be quite hard to buy land as a woman. When women do get the opportunity to buy land to grow their own coffee, it is usually only small plots of land. Butler, knowing all this information, decided to make it her mission to support women owned farms in countries such as her home country of Colombia. She wanted to not only pay them a fair wage and “make sure they are growing a crop that is exquisite. That [the coffee] is exclusive, that is rare.” This is the coffee Butler sells and uses at her cafe, Coffeecionado.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, things have been a little rough for most everyone including Butler and her staff at the Southside coffee shop. Knowing that the pandemic has financially impacted families all across the world she wanted to ensure that her staff would still be paid a livable wage. She ensured their pay during the early 2020 lockdown by having them roast coffee beans as if it were a normal work day. However, instead of selling the coffee to people they donated the beans to the South Texas Food Bank.
When asked about the mindset they have had during this hard time, Patricia Butler said, “have faith in your community.”
To all shop owners, Butler gave some suggestions on what to do if your business has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Create a plan to develop a part of your business. Create a Facebook and Instagram page just to let people know what you’re doing,” Butler said.