From the Ground Up: Sustainable Coffee Culture | Los Angeles Public Library
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From the Ground Up: Sustainable Coffee Culture

Panel discussion with Alexandra Katona-Carroll, program manager, Coffee Quality Institute; Jay Ruskey, owner, Good Land Organics; Angel Orozco, owner and roaster, Cafecito Orgánico
Moderated by Peter Giuliano, Specialty Coffee Association of America
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Episode Summary

More valuable than gold, more ubiquitous than water, what is really brewing behind the $100 billion global coffee industry? Local coffee connoisseurs gather to discuss the journey of the bean from seed to cup. From the role of organic farming and the livelihood of producers, to trends in curating the consumer’s palate, the nuances of this beloved beverage have never been so complex.

Free coffee tasting before the program, compliments of Cafecito Orgánico

*Click here to see photos from the program!

Participant(s) Bio

Alexandra Katona-Carroll has been working in the specialty coffee industry for nearly seven years. She is the programs manager for the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), and a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) Sustainability Council, where she worked for two years. While in college, Katona-Carroll worked with a coffee cooperative in Chiapas and helped co-found a student-run coffee business.  She has also lived and worked in Ecuador with a cacao cooperative and is involved in the Women in Coffee Leadership Program.

Jay Ruskey is the founder of Good Land Organics (GLO), an organic farm in Goleta, CA that grows and markets organic and rare fruits locally and nationally including coffee, cherimoya, passion fruit, avocado, lychee, longan and micro-citrus. GLO has been collaborating on the coffee growing project with Mark Gaskell of the University California Cooperative Extension.  This trial is evaluating all aspects of growing coffee in California with over a dozen named varieties.  Ruskey also developed a crop risk model design and applied beta testing for evaluating crops over long periods of time with uncertain variables. He works and collaborates with several agricultural business boards.

Angel Orozco, is the founder of Cafecito Orgánico, a locally based roaster and brick and mortar coffee shop with four locations in Southern California.   Prior to opening Cafecito Orgánico , Orozco worked with community advocacy groups, such as Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Mama’s Hot Tamales Café, and the Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund.  He also helped lay the ground work for he City of Los Angeles’ Plastic Bag Ban.  Orozco’s passion and commitment to working for economic and social justice translates perfectly to working in the coffee industry and in influencing working conditions in his native Guatemala.

Peter Giuliano has worked for a quarter century in specialty coffee as a coffee educator, taster, roaster, and buyer.  He was a founder and president of the Roasters’ Guild, and served as president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.  As co-owner and Director of Coffee for Counter Culture Coffee he pioneered what has come to be known as Direct Trade Coffee, an approach that emphasizes quality, equity, and transparency in the supply chain.  Giuliano is currently the Director of the Specialty Coffee Symposium, a cutting-edge conference and community of thought leaders in coffee.


Photo credit: Fran Collin