For this edition of Coffee Break Magazine, I had the pleasure to interview my good friend, colleague and conational Hortensia Solis, who is currently the Climate Change Consultant for the International Coffee Organization. As a bonus, at the end of the interview, we have a very good article she wrote, about the agreement on reducing emissions reached at the COP21 conferences in Paris and how it will impact the coffee industry, I hope you all will enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Jose Ureña: Tell us a bit about how you got involved with coffee and how it changed your life.
Hortensia Solis: I have been around coffee all my life. You could say that coffee is my life. I was born to a coffee farmer in the valley of Dota, Tarrazu, Costa Rica. I grew up in the small town of Santa Maria de Dota. As a child, I helped my father pick coffee and look over the farm. Despite the tough times that the coffee industry went through in the 1980s and 1990s, it was a great childhood. I studied agriculture engineering at EARTH University in Costa Rica.
During my summers, I interned in the local coffee cooperative, Coopedota. This coop is close to my heart, as my father was one of the founding members. After graduation, I took a job there in sustainability projects. After a few years, I had enough projects and funding to have a small team of people working with me. We reduced the coop’s water and CO2 footprint. We tested innovative technologies in biogas and bio-ethanol. In 2011, we certified the world’s first carbon neutral coffee.