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Coffee farmers from across the world visit Maine

The International Women's Coffee Alliance held its conference in Boston, and afterward, dozens of farmers got to visit Maine to learn from each other.

PORTLAND, Maine — Seventy percent of the labor force behind the coffee industry are women, according to the International Women's Coffee Alliance.

And women from all over the world got to visit Portland to discuss some of the challenges they're facing in the industry.

That morning caffeine fix makes a long journey before it gets to consumers.

"It's many hands in your cup," Mary Allen Lindemann, owner of Coffee By Design, said.

Many of those hands belong to women.

"When it comes to our beloved coffee, women are the front liners, and [the] majority of the work [is] done by women," Hilina Mezgebu, an Ethiopia-based coffee farmer, said. 

The International Women's Coffee Alliance held a conference in Boston over the weekend, and Coffee By Design invited leaders in coffee farming to Maine to learn from each other.

"We believe in supporting women in coffee. You support the entire family, the entire community," Lindemann said.

Men and women in the coffee industry are discussing things that affect the industry, including climate change.

"We may have to start rethinking what we buy because arabica coffee is really being impacted by climate change, and we may have to look at other species if we want to continue to serve great coffee," Lindemann added.

More than 20 coffee farmers from seven countries are visiting Maine this week.

"We just want to create opportunities for everyone who is working in the coffee process," Mezgebu said.

The coffee farmers will be heading back to their home countries on Wednesday, bringing a wealth of knowledge with them.

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