OKLAHOMA CITY, OK— A local cafe chain is implementing a new anti-bias training program to teach baristas to respect coffees of all roast levels.
While many are skeptical of the efficacy of anti-bias trainings, owner Helen Jones believes that it’s a necessary first step in eliminating bias not only in baristas, but in the wider community.
“In third-wave coffee shops. customers get their heads bitten off simply for asking for the coffee they’ve always enjoyed,” Jones told us. “Yes, we may not carry it, but the stigma against certain types of coffee is creating harmful experiences for customers. We need to fix that.”
Some baristas are excited about the anti-bias training.
“I’ve always liked coffee of all roast levels,” barista Roger Keen told us. “I don’t even really think about the roast level. I’m lucky to just be like that naturally, but for other people, they need to be educated on how to look past roast level and just see coffee.” He hopes the anti-bias training will help his coworkers overcome their prejudices.
Other baristas believe the training is divisive.
“I just don’t see why it’s necessary,” said barista Kim Lael, who has worked in coffee for five years. “What’s wrong with having preferences? It’s unfair to target us.”
Jones tells us the main goal of the training isn’t to eradicate preference, it’s simply about teaching staff to treat all coffee-lovers with respect.
The chain will shut down all stores next week to implement the new anti-bias training, which Keen hopes will help ensure her cafes act as “safe spaces” for all types of customers.