Queer women-owned FiNCA to FiLTER coffee shop has become a pillar of community and affirmation in the West End and Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods — providing free Plan B contraceptives “no questions asked,” equitable menu prices and safe spaces for marginalized groups.
“We’ll know that we’re successful,” founder Kayla Bellman told Georgia Voice, “when our community can walk into a FiNCA, and they feel like it was designed for them.”
Bellman lived and worked in Guatemala before moving to Atlanta in 2018, where she received her master’s degree in development practice from Emory University. Armed with her education and experience in the “coffee lands,” Bellman launched a coffee pop-up with Wild Heaven Brewery & Gardens in the West End that quickly necessitated a permanent location.
FiNCA to FiLTER opened its first store in 2020, inside Wild Heaven Brewery. The name, Bellman said, was inspired by the farm-to-table movement. “Finca,” which means “farm” in Spanish, references her love and appreciation for all that coffee means to her.
“Coffee promised prosperity, equitable pay, meaningful work for women,” Bellman said.
In April, FiNCA announced that it will partner with ARC Southeast to offer free Plan B contraception after the Georgia General Assembly enacted a six-week abortion ban. In response to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, ARC Community Outposts offer safe, reproductive health care options throughout Atlanta, including at Charis Books & More, CreateATL and Hodgepodge Coffeehouse.
FiNCA’s “queer and caffeinated” branding encourages both staff and patrons to “show up authentically,” which Bellman says is essential to the queer woman-led business.
“Through this authenticity, we build trust with neighbors,” she said. “I think we see ourselves as stewards of both the queer community and queer professionals … To us, being a queer-led business means showing up authentically as ourselves, not hiding from anyone and creating the space for others to do their thing.”
From drag queen story times to artist fairs, FiNCA platforms queer voices and businesses. Last October, Atlanta-based artist Barry Lee partnered with FiNCA to combine Lee’s signature style and the shop’s “queer and caffeinated” slogan on T-shirts and mugs for Atlanta Pride. FiNCA named Kristen Consuegra the 2023 Queer & Caffeinated Artist Collab.
“This shirt design is a collage of influences that have shaped my journey as a queer nonbinary person,” Consuegra said of their design. “Incorporating imagery from movies, newspapers, posters, and graphics of queer liberation movements, it pays homage to the art that inspired me to embrace my identity. It facilitates a deep understanding of the cultural and historical contexts that have shaped queer narratives.”
FiNCA offers equitable and accessible pricing from menu to merchandise. While the shop offers coffee for as little as $2.50 and sweets starting at $2, a seasonal rotating menu keeps things interesting. This season’s Specialty “Foraging Menu” offers sweet potato lattes, elderberry tea, and a sweet espresso Scorpio Spritz.
In 2019, Business Insider found that the “fat tax” results in “difference in price between items — clothing, bikes, furniture, etc. — made for those in the plus-sized community and those who are not.” So, Bellman said it was important to her that clothing sizes and menu prices did not ostracize the community.
“You’ll see that XS and XXXL are priced the same,” Bellman said. “Although most people in retail understand the price to [the business] is not the same, it’s how we understand kind of prioritizing our community and making sure that access to our goods is equal. So, there’s both the big lines, right, putting our money where our mouth is, but it’s also the small intentional actions that help both our customers and our team see themselves represented in what we do.”
Bellman is also branching out to connect the neighborhoods on the Southside Beltline trail with natural wine bar, Side Saddle Wine Saloon. Natural wine is a burgeoning industry, largely led by POC and queer women, focusing on a low-intervention approach to winemaking.
Editor’s note (11/15/2023): The original story mislabeled Plan B as mifepristone. Plan B is a single tablet that contains levonorgestrel 1.5 mg and it works by temporarily delaying ovulation. It is used within 72-hours after unprotected sex and helps prevent a pregnancy before it starts. It is not an abortion pill and will not harm an existing pregnancy.