Coffee Knowledge Hub

Erika Koss

Social Scientist
Erika Koss

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About me

Erika Koss is a writer, researcher, teacher, and traveler who sees coffee through the lens of her life-long passions for literature and human rights.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Erika started her coffee career as a barista in 1996. After, she worked in various sectors from government to higher education, and found her way back to coffee through her master's thesis in Political Science.

Now she is a PhD candidate in the International Development Studies program at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, working to complete her dissertation that focuses on women in coffee in Kenya. She is a Research Associate at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi in Nairobi, Kenya, where she lived in 2019-2020.

Erika has written several articles in coffee and other publications. Her research centers on the need for sustainability, resilience, and gender equity in the global coffee sector, particularly in East Africa. Her research focuses on colonialism; global governance; climate resilience; and the need for gender justice in agriculture in general and coffee in particular.

From 2018-19, Erika was a member of the Creator’s Group who wrote the curriculum for the Sustainability Coffee Skills program of the Specialty Coffee Association. The course launched at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston in April 2019. Erika remains a Authorized SCA Trainer (AST) for the “Introduction to Coffee” and “Sustainability Coffee Skills” courses and is working on her full "Sensory" certificate, which she hopes to finish in 2022.

Her latest writing is a "viewpoint essay" for 25 magazine titled "From Sea to Shining Sea: Coffee's Transport and Expanding Our Definition of 'the Middle People" (April 2022):

https://sca.coffee/sca-news/25/issue-17/from-sea-to-shining-sea-coffees-transport-and-expanding-our-definition-of-the-middle-people

Teaching experience

SCA Coffee Sustainability

2019-2025
Foundation, Intermediate, Professional

Co-creator and trainer for SCA Coffee Sustainability program

Coffee and Development

2021-2021
Dalhousie University, NS, Canada

Created and taught this "special topics" course for undergraduate social science students at Dalhousie University

Contemporary Topics in Sub-Saharan Africa

2020-2020
Saint Marys University, NS, Canada

Taught course designed for International Development Studies undergraduate students

Professional experience

Literature Specialist

2005-2010
@ National Endowment for the Arts

Worked on the National Initiatives teams that created "The Big Read" and "Poetry Out Loud"; served as series editor for educational curriculum of American fiction and poetry

Education

PhD candidate, International Development Studies

Saint Marys University December 31, 2022

MA, Political Science

Northeastern University, MA, USA August 15, 2016

MA, English literature

San Diego State University May 15, 2003

Bachelor of Science

Masters University, CA, USA December 15, 1996

Certifications

No certifications have been added yet.

Completed Courses

No certificates have been added yet.

Technical expertise

No technical expertise has been added yet.

Coffee interests and passions

Sensory
Sustainability

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