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A Look Back at I’M NOT A BARISTA 2020

By 25th December 2020May 16th, 2022No Comments8 min read

How does one start writing about 2020? It’s been a year like no other. Before looking ahead at 2021 and reimagining our future, we wanted to take a step back and look at what we have achieved. We all need to build back our confidence, keep our focus on our actions and their impact and inspire each other for more action for a better future of the global coffee community.

I’M NOT A BARISTA is a Not-for-profit Organization that came to life with the aim to help baristas in need and make a social impact. We understand that baristas are coffee professionals often overlooked within the coffee supply chain as there is a lot of focus on other parts of the chain, like farming and roasting. However, it’s the barista that connects the coffee world to the consumer world. 

Unfortunately, the job itself doesn’t come in an attractive package, with the long hours, the sometimes incessant customers and the often underwhelming salaries. But if you ask any barista why they love their job, they will most likely tell you they love the craft of making coffee and the daily contact with the customers. We wish to recognise their skills, passion and work for the coffee community and it is our goal to shine a light on them. 

The team of I’M NOT A BARISTA chose to fulfil this goal through a few actions this past year. We launched three campaigns and a Coffee Stories project and we are all very happy with the impact of it all. We got to talk to many baristas, hear their stories and keep them company through the pandemic. So let’s have a look at what happened in 2020.

Coffee Stories

Our initiative to start sharing barista coffee stories came so naturally as it is a project directly connected to our goals as an NPO. We want baristas from all over the globe to take the center stage and share their own coffee story with us and the community. If you are part of the coffee industry, you know how much effort goes into making a great cup of coffee. However, most people don’t realise this. 

Instead, many think baristas “just make coffee”. But as in every industry, there is a value chain in coffee as well and it starts with the farmer and ends with the barista serving a customer. Through the stages of the chain there are many individuals that work with passion and love for their craft to offer the best result possible. The baristas are in charge of representing this chain directly to the customer by being knowledgeable and professionally educated.

What’s more, they are on their feet all day, doing a numerous amount of jobs aside from making coffee including cleaning, maintenance, serving, cashier duties, handling complaints and stock counting. They manage to do all these jobs and still build a friendly relationship with their customers despite the stress and the low salaries they receive. And despite the stress this job may cause or the unfair underpayment, they stay because they have a passion for what they do.

Today, the global pandemic makes their job even more challenging as they try to adapt to new procedures and of course many have unfortunately lost their jobs. So we felt it was time they had their voices heard. To this day we have published more than 80 barista coffee stories and helped 380+ baristas in need via donations from more than 1,000 supporters around the globe. We will continue to support them by sharing their stories with the world and shining a light on their true value. 

Coffee stories


Almost 1 million views on Instagram


A global social campaign not only aimed to bring us together but also to bring back value to those in our community that need help.

Our first campaign was born from the need for connection and interaction within the global coffee community.

We believe it’s very important to remind each other that we are not alone in these difficult times and we chose to bring everyone together by sharing our love and passion for the one thing we all have in common: coffee. 

However, Brew At Home is a global social campaign not only aimed to bring us together but also to bring back value to those in our community that need help. We teamed up with many international coffee brands in order to support people in different parts of the coffee chain. Through this campaign we managed to build a global platform where everyone could connect, share brewing ideas and tutorials and organize online coffee events.

This effort was twofold: on the one hand we wanted everyone to connect with each other through coffee. On the other hand we aimed to support roasters, baristas and coffee toolmakers by promoting their work and encouraging everyone to purchase coffee beans and tools to brew at home and at the same time provide help to our community. 


Campaign partners


Coffee and tools donated


Volunteers participated

#flipthefilter challenge

A fun activity that would take everyone’s mind off the pandemic for a bit and make us all feel close to one another despite being isolated. 


A fun activity that would take everyone’s mind off the pandemic for a bit and make us all feel close to one another despite being isolated. 

make us all feel close to one another despite being isolated. There was no criteria for participation other than owning V60 paper filters and being imaginative. 

The participants had the chance to win amazing coffee prizes as our campaign was supported by many international roasteries and the well-known coffee brand Hario. What’s more, winners could exchange or donate their prizes. The bottomline was to promote everyone’s love for pour-over coffee and bring the coffee community together. 

We were very excited to watch all the videos participants sent us from all over the world. The impact of this campaign was immediate, as everyone was having fun attempting the challenge and at the same time we all felt a sense of belonging. It was a unique moment for the world coffee community because after all, without the people, coffee is just a drink. 

coffeemoustache group 2020


While approaching the end of a very challenging year for everyone, we launched our last campaign, Coffee Moustache. This time we chose to focus on raising awareness of mental health issues baristas might be faced with. Our aim was to bring a smile on people’s faces by asking them to send us photos of themselves with their best coffee moustache. We felt it was important to finish this year off with a smile, more specifically, a coffee smile. 

As you may know, many baristas have lost their jobs, small independent coffee shops had to close and the coffee industry is faced with one of the biggest challenges in its history. This has taken a toll on all of us without a doubt. We need to cheer each other up and stay connected through these difficult times. Yet again our valued partners stood by us and made sure we had loads of prizes for participants, who also had the chance to donate them. 

A Look Ahead

This year is now coming to an end and the whole world is uncertain about what’s to come. One thing we believe is that things will only get better regarding the pandemic. It is up to us to remain patient, support each other and come out of this stronger and better. We would like to take this chance to thank our partners, our supporters and our volunteers for joining us in this journey and helping us, each in their own way. 

Coffee for us means connection: be it an espresso at the end of a big family meal; a cappuccino with your best friend; the random chat with another customer at your favorite coffee shop, or the time spent with a colleague recharging with some bean juice in the office. Right now, we miss our family, friends, colleagues, and favorite baristas. It’s a moment when connection and support are needed more than ever before. So let’s stay connected and soon we will be sharing moments in our favorite coffee shops again.

Check our latest initiative Kickstarter project the BREWING GUIDE in 2021, stay tuned for more projects and fun campaigns!

We wish you all a Happy New Year!

We wish you all a Happy New Year!

Vasileia Fanarioti

My name is Vasileia and I’m here because i decided to combine my two favourite things: writing and coffee. You can follow my coffee adventures via my blog: