2022 Whittier College Coffee Speaker Series

February 3, 2022

Coffee beans held up by two hands

An innovative slate of coffee industry leaders is sharing their unique expertise with the Whittier College community as part of the 2022 Coffee Speakers Series.

Talks are held on a weekly basis on Thursdays, 5-6 p.m., from February 3 to April 21.

To join please Zoom using the meeting ID: 966 1827 5509, and passcode 890732.

The 10-speaker series if sponsored by the Whittier College Environmental Science Department and made possible by the A.V. Davis Foundation grant awarded to Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Cinzia Fissore.

Whittier College was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation to help propel the growth of the campus’ sustainable coffee orchard and provide research and internship opportunities for students. Via Fissore’s leadership, the grant has enabled the College to expand its collaboration with the newly emerging California coffee grower’s agricultural community, including its partnership with Frinj Coffee—an organization at the forefront of promoting and supporting California coffee production. The grant has also provided 10 undergraduate research fellowships and eight internships for Whittier students over the last two years.

February 3
Sam Mazzella is a CQI certified Q Grader with over 10 years of experience in the specialty coffee industry. As a senior trader for RGC Coffee, a private coffee importer based in Montreal, Mazzella has been focused on buying and selling coffee with an emphasis on creating a more sustainable supply chain. His passion for coffee has also led him to run the East Coast Coffee Madness event, a non-profit annual gathering of coffee lovers and professionals.

February 10
Sarah Grant is an associate professor of anthropology at California State University, Fullerton. Her research uses ethnographic methods to understand the human experiences of industrial agriculture, climate change, and precarity in contemporary Vietnam. She is finishing her first book-length manuscript about industrial coffee production in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and developing two new research projects.

February 17
Michael Sheridan is the director of Sourcing and Shared Value at Intelligentsia Coffee. He is the recipient of the Specialty Coffee Association’s 2021 Sustainability Award, honoring his career-long dedication to supporting local development in coffee communities, both at Intelligentsia, and before that, at humanitarian organization Catholic Relief Services. Sheridan got into coffee through an international development professional focused on coffee’s potential to improve life in the communities where it is grown.

February 24
Andrew Margenot is an assistant professor at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research addresses the literal foundation of all cropping systems: soils. He and his team evaluate how human activities can enhance or compromise soil services to society, with an emphasis on food security from urban and rural agroecosystems in the US Midwest and East Africa. The goal of the research is to help advance how we monitor and manage soils as natural capital.

March 3
Mollie Moisan is head of coffee at Brewley’s North America and activist. She grew up on coffee as her habit started at the age of 12, and has since been hooked. She loves to work in coffee because it is cooperative; Pachamama Coffee Cooperative is basically a co-op of co-ops in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, and Ethiopia. This means that the small farmers from these countries actually own the company.

March 10
Susan Heller Everson is a Trader & Position Analyst at Atlas Coffee Importers. She has a bachelor’s degree in comparative religion and comparative history of ideas from the University of Washington. After college, Everson lived in France for a year, traveled, moved back to the Pacific Northwest to try her hand at teaching, then jumped back across the pond to Switzerland to round out her obsession of comparing things by studying comparative literature at the University of Geneva. Her passion for coffee started after she became a barista during her college years. Everson loves Atlas because it allows her to drink (and compare) coffee to her caffeine-addicted heart’s content.

March 17
Peter Giuliano is an executive director at Coffee Science Foundation (CSF). The California-based CSF is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding of coffee and finding out what’s on the mind of the coffee industry. In 1988, Giuliano began his career in coffee as a barista in San Diego. Since then, he has worked in a variety of coffee occupations, including roaster, cupper, manager, trainer, and coffee buyer. Giuliano became involved in the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) as a volunteer over a decade ago, when a workshop taught at SCAA headquarters inspired him to become more involved as a volunteer and trainer.

April 7
Benjamin Myers is a growers programs manager at FRINJ Coffee. His work focuses on centric regenerative agriculture, gestalt leadership, and developing healing systems. Myers considers himself an “ecosystemologist, coffee strategist, and collaborator extraordinaire.” He is the founder of 1000 Faces Coffee, Vortex Doughnuts, and Slow Coffee and is a Coffee Quality Institute consultant (Colombia and Ethiopia.) Myers is a Two-time Good Food Award winner (2012, 2013) and a two-time Good Food Award Judge (2014, 2015).

April 14
Jordan Crosthwaite is sales director at Green Coffee Company (Colombia’s 2nd largest coffee producer). He is a coffee professional with 15-plus years experience building value chains for coffee producers and roasters, sourcing coffees and connecting them with best-fit markets. Crosthwaite is drawn to work where he can contribute innovative solutions that have social and environmental impact and capture new value for all parties.

April 21
Nora Johnson is commodities manager at Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA. She is experienced in calculating, analyzing, and maintaining futures and physical coffee positions. Johnson is a lover of the fast-paced, unpredictable nature of green coffee and the passion that exists behind each bean.