Coffee Connects Us [Fellow Guest Blog Post]

Coffee connects us. This single crop narrates stories of our global history, draws reflections on who we are as a culture today, and depends on a future written by the collective decisions we make as a society. It’s through coffee that we can consider such a broad range of critical topics – from gender equity, to phytopathology, to labor migration, to watershed management. It’s through coffee that people from Indonesia interact with people from Mexico with people from the United States. And it’s through coffee that we involve an extremely diverse range of actors – from researchers to small business owners to growers to green coffee buyers.

At Re:co Symposium, the place where all of the paths converge, there is a constant hum of ideas being exchanged, and an even louder murmur of unspoken thoughts stirring. Re:co is the place where the innovations of global thought-leaders in specialty coffee converge, to come together and plant the seeds of ideas. As a Fellow of the S&D sponsored Re:co Symposium Fellowship program, I was given the opportunity to collaborate with this community, finding overlap in our efforts and reasons to work together, while being inspired by distinctive approaches to tackle common challenges facing our industry. A resonating conclusion from many of the Re:co speakers’ talks was the need for cross-sector collaboration — as the challenges we face in the specialty coffee sector won’t be solved alone.

My current work in specialty coffee is in research and education. As a graduate student at UC Davis in International Agricultural Development, I work with Plant Sciences Professor, Patrick Brown, in the design of a new interdisciplinary course on the biological and cultural impacts of coffee. UC Davis already boasts a class in the principles of coffee brewing and has made significant contributions to coffee sensory science. It’s through this channel of education that we hope to contribute to Re:co’s ethos of collaboration, by connecting the ideas of sustainability leaders like S&D and the SCAA to the next generation of young coffee thinkers.

Kate Polakiewicz
International Agricultural Development M.Sc. Candidate
University of California, Davis

Learn more about S&D’s role with the Re:co Fellows in this news article.

Coffee Cooperative