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Erika Koss

Social Scientist
Erika Koss

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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 San Diego 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 lives with her younger son.

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.

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 2023. She has also served as a judge for the national barista and Aeropress compeititions in Kenya.

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):

Esperienza di insegnamento

SCA Coffee Sustainability

Foundation, Intermediate, Professional

Co-creator and trainer for SCA Coffee Sustainability program

Coffee and Development

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

Saint Marys University, NS, Canada

Taught course designed for International Development Studies undergraduate students

Esperienza professionale

Literature Specialist

@ 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


PhD candidate, International Development Studies

Saint Marys University 31 dicembre 2022

MA, Political Science

Northeastern University, MA, USA 15 agosto 2016

MA, English literature

San Diego State University 15 maggio 2003

Bachelor of Science

Masters University, CA, USA 15 dicembre 1996


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Completed Courses

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Esperienza tecnica

No technical expertise has been added yet.

Interessi e passioni sul caffè


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