Among the voices calling for change in the coffee industry, none ring clearer than Lucia Solis’s. As a trained oenologist who studied at UC Davis, Solis uses her expertise as a winemaker to help coffee farmers improve their fermentation techniques. In reality, the better part of a decade spent traveling to coffee mills has made Solis one of the industry’s leading coffee processing experts.
As someone who has spent most of my time in coffee on the consumer-facing side, I’ve learned a lot from Solis’s newsletter and podcast, Making Coffee with Lucia Solis. I’m grateful that Lucia made time for a call over WhatsApp, where we discussed her podcast, the devastating effects of COVID-19 for coffee farmers, and whether or not coffee should be saved.
We’ve really been enjoying, and learning a lot from your podcast. What inspired you to start it?
It was an idea I had for a few years before I got the courage to do it. In 2016 I even sketched out a few episode ideas and was trying to come up with a podcast title. When I gave my 2017 ReCo presentation I thought I had made a basic argument, I didn’t understand why people didn’t understand what I was talking about. It took me the better part of a year to understand where people’s deficiencies were. I didn’t understand why people didn’t understand me.
Eventually I realized that because I was coming from a different industry, we had very different references.
I wondered “Why are we talking about this and not that”? Consequently being an outsider gave a fresh perspective on many things the coffee industry took for granted….