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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Soldadera Coffee: business highlighting strong women wins $20,000

Courtesy of Soldadera Coffee

On Tuesday, The Rodriguez-Garcia and Espinosa Family were one of the ten contestants out of 100, who received $20,000 in the 100 Ideas, a citywide pitch competition launched by Start Garden. What made them win – you might ask. Their start-up business, Soldadera Coffee a family owned small business whose goal is to bring a cold brew to the community. 

Mario Rodriguez takes care of the general management of the company, explains that the inspiration behind the coffee is their Grandmother Cristina, a social and political activist from Mexico. 

“She was a person who was involved and who was politically active also in the community and a worker and would help out other women who were unfairly treated and would also watch over her family.” 

The coffee Soldadera Coffee brews is what is known in Mexico as “Café de Olla” or Stove-Top coffee. Rodriguez shares that the recipe of this coffee goes back to the Soldaderas or the women soldiers who would make this coffee for the men in the Mexican Revolutionary war that began in 1910. 

“The coffee was made by the women, the soldaderas, to help the soldiers refuel in the mornings and at night by using coffee and herbs in a pot. Café de olla translates to coffee of the pot. So they would put this coffee in tray pots and brew it and give it to the soldiers and themselves” 

The family did not expect to win the $20,000 dollars. 

Now that the family has won they are excited to begin producing the cold brew in greater quantities and sell it in local shops in Grand Rapids. 

“We want to make sure that we secure the quantity and quality of our product for high batch purposes as we are starting to contact local shops around the GR area and be able to keep up with demands.”

Expect to find Soldadera Coffee at your local grocery – or if you can’t wait until then you can purchase a cold brewed online at soldaderacoffee.com. 

For WGVU News Michelle Jokisch Polo