Coffee Know-how
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Four women in the coffee business

On the occasion of International Women's Day, we would like to introduce to you today a few examples of our employees who are driving the coffee industry forward with their work. They deserve our appreciation for their daily commitment to Blasercafé. Thanks above all to our employees and the producers in the coffee countries of origin - among them numerous women - our coffee achieves the best result in your cups.


Marie-Luise Millemaci on site with an Indian producer


Mary-Lou, the experienced green coffee trader

Marie-Luise Millemaci, Mary-Lou for short, has been working as a green coffee trader for our sister company Blaser Trading for 18 years. The company supplies coffee roasters, green coffee importers and international coffee trading companies as well as Blasercafé with selected green coffee. Their range includes the usual commercial qualities, rare specialities, decaffeinated blends, certified coffees and other products.

Mary-Lou enjoys her job every day. She maintains contact with customers and producers at the origin. This also includes visits to producers in coffee-growing countries such as Ethiopia, Costa Rica or India as well as visits to customers in Italy or Spain. During her visits to trade fairs, e.g. Triestespresso in Italy, Mary-Lou noticed that more and more women are dedicating themselves to the green coffee trade.

A gratifying development, as she notes with a cup of cappuccino, her favourite coffee drink.


Marlies Iseli at the preparation of a cupping session


Marlies, the green coffee specialist and speciality roaster

Marlies Iseli is responsible for the quality assurance and administration of the green coffee samples at Blaser Trading. For example, after Mary-Lou orders a delivery of green coffee, a green coffee sample is sent to us before shipment. Marlies checks with her colleague Sandra Reist whether these samples correspond to the contractually purchased quality. The sample must first be roasted, degusted and graded. It is important to make sure that the coffee meets the parameters typical for the country in question (size, colour, moisture content of the beans, taste in the cup, roasting pattern, number of defects in the green coffee, etc.). After tasting, our Quality Panel, in which Marlies is one of four members, decides whether this coffee meets the requirements. Only then the coffee can be delivered to the respective roasters. In addition, Marlies roasts our speciality coffees of the Terroir-Line for us in the Rösterei Kaffee und Bar.

A highlight of her eleven-year career at Blaser Trading was Marlies' trip to Indonesia. Here she got to know the cultivation and processing of the green coffee directly on site. She was also able to get in touch with many suppliers personally and exchange ideas. Marlies was able to learn a lot of interesting facts about coffee and its processing on this trip and to further expand her already extensive coffee know-how. A further highlight was the construction and installation of the new cupping and sampling room on the top floor of our company headquarters, where the daily quality assurance procedures could be optimised once again.

Marlies favourite coffee drink depends on the time of day: in the morning she loves a good cappuccino, in the afternoon Marlies prefers a strong small espresso.


Barbara Held roasting in the roasting house coffee and bar


Barbara, the knowledge-hungry trainer and Q grader

Since 2010, Barbara Held has been responsible for the design and implementation of our coffee courses as a trainer. She trains our trainers, conducts training courses and works in international working groups to design training concepts. As a licensed Q Arabica Grader, Barbara is also responsible for sensory quality assurance in the cuppings of Blaser Trading and Blasercafé. As head of quality management, she is also jointly responsible for our product development and works from the selection of the green coffee to the finished product in the cup. Last but not least, Barbara is a member of the board of the Swiss Chapter of the Specialty Coffee Association.


When a guest at the neighboring table raves about a coffee I've developed, I'm very happy about it in silence.

Barbara Held

The coffee world needs more course instructors!

According to Barbara, there are still fewer women than men who work in the field of training, which she feels can be improved. But she knows some female colleagues in the field of sensory quality assurance. Women have natural advantages here because they have more receptors for taste. Many women also have a finer, more developed sense of smell. This is the best prerequisite for becoming a good sensory technician. The training of the senses, however, is important and must not be forgotten.

Barbara sees great potential in women for coffee training. Women often have the greater soft skills such as empathy, which is indispensable in training. They can observe well and thus have fine sensors for what is going on in the training group and how the individual participants are doing. Networked thinking and multitasking skills help her with the variety of tasks, says Barbara over a cup of espresso, which she prefers not to drink too darkly roasted. Early in the morning she prefers a filter coffee brewed by her trainer colleague - preferably from Ethiopia or Guatemala.


Bettina Blaser (2nd from left) with the family members Marc Käppeli, Michael Blaser and Markus Blaser


Bettina, Familienmitglied und Leiterin des HR

Bettina Blaser, our head of Human Resources, has the task of ensuring that our companies have the important human capital they need today and in the future, while optimally taking into account their different needs and demands. Even as a teenager, Bettina, daughter of Markus Blaser, often worked in the company during the holidays in order to earn her pocket money in the family company. Since her KV apprenticeship at Blasercafé in 1998, Bettina has worked for our family business (with the exception of a few other temporary positions). The highlight of Bettina's long career is the opening of the Rösterei Kaffee und Bar.


In the Human Resources department, we three HR specialists all work part-time, which enables us to reconcile work and family life. By offering part-time work, we are able to support mothers (and fathers) in reconciling their professional careers with family changes.

Bettina Blaser

Since the Human Resources department functions as a supporting service unit, there is more opportunity for part-time work for women here than, for example, in sales/customer advisory services. According to Bettina's experience, part-time work is still mainly taken up by women rather than by men. Although this development is also on the increase. Let's see what the future holds.

Bettina's favourite coffee drink is Shakerato in summer - otherwise depending on mood and time of day - from latte to espresso, she likes everything.


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