We have elected that Nükhet Çubukçular receives this week’s donation because she is an extremely hardworking woman. Beyond this/Moreover, she never ceases to inspire us through her art, charity work, and humility.
Nükhet grew up in Turkey and started working at the age of 14. A lover of skateboarding and snowboarding, she began working in an extreme sports shop, but was forced to find another job when the business faced financial issues. She struggled to find a new career opportunity, quickly judged by potential employers for her tattoo-covered arms in what is still a rather conservative society.
With the last of her savings, she applied for a barista role in a local cafe, in the hopes that they would accept her as she was. Luckily, her employers looked beyond her body art and she has since managed to find a close-knit community, and a newfound love for coffee!
Quickly moving from a waitress to a barista role, Nükhet has always been eager to learn. Through her job she improved her English language skills, as well as her social skills. With her newfound interest in coffee, she began learning about roasting coffee beans as a science. Prior to the pandemic, Nükhet was working as an assistant roaster.
After the first wave of COVID-19 hit Istanbul, she lost her job and had to move back to her hometown, Izmir, as she could no longer afford the capital’s living fees.
To continue to cultivate her passion for coffee during the pandemic, she has been designing coffee-related stickers and selling them. When we got to speak to her, she admitted to us she only earns enough to pay her bills and feed her cat, so that she often cannot even buy herself a cup of espresso. Sometimes her friends send her coffee to support her.
Despite these difficulties, Nükhet is donating her own illustrations to raise money for the Raw Material’s Timor-Leste Appeal, to help locals affected by the devastating floods and landslides since April 2021.
The whole NOT A BARISTA team has felt truly touched and inspired by Nükhet’s. She perseveres in what has been an extremely hard time, and does so with courage, passion, and generosity, consistently supporting those around her. We know in our hearts she deserves this donation.
When we announced to Nükhet that she’d receive $100, she shared with us that she is so grateful to the coffee community. In her own words,
“Coffee is a matter of respect. It connects people. The coffee community inspires me everyday. This is an important amount of money for me as it will help me keep pushing forward. Just knowing that it comes from the coffee community makes me feel very humbled. Thank you!”
If you want to have a look at Nükhet’s art and support her, you can do so here.
Article by Vasileia Fanarioti, edited by Zoé Gamet.