top of page

Our Contributors

Contributors are the heart of Sustain Coffee. They track down or produce the valuable resources for the site to make coffee better for everyone. Become a contributor


Will Garde, P.E. (Founder)

  • Will Garde

Will considers himself a coffee and engineering enthusiast. He currently lives in Houston, Texas where he works as a water resources and environmental engineer and has worked on almost every aspect of the water industry. He holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Cincinnati where he conducted and published novel research on treating coffee fermentation wastewater, which landed him a Re:Co fellowship in 2016. He has been involved in the coffee industry since 2011 and his past coffee experiences include working on the CRS' Blue Harvest Water Benefits Calculator, consulting on coffee wastewater treatment lagoons, and launching a small coffee roasting project that funded a greenhouse in Tanzania. Will is passionate about developing monitoring and evaluation systems, applying engineering concepts to sustainability, protecting water resources, and promoting resource sharing in the coffee sector. He is the founder of Sustain Coffee, an online resource library for the specialty coffee industry. His favorite drink is a double espresso.


Nora Burkey

  • Nora Burkey

Nora holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development from the Graduate Institute at School for International Training, where she focused her studies on gender in development and food systems. For her Master’s thesis, she conducted research on women’s lending groups in Nicaragua, which intended to recognize the unpaid work of women in supply chains. After graduating, she founded The Chain Collaborative to focus on small community-led development projects with local leaders in coffee communities around the world. Recently, she spearheaded a Creator’s Group to author the new Coffee Sustainability Program for the Specialty Coffee Association. She has written for numerous coffee magazines and blogs and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She speaks English and Spanish.

Rodriguez Headshot.PNG

Hillary Rodriguez

  • Hillary Rodriguez

Hillary is a coffee professional currently based in Sanata Rosa, California. She has worked at almost every link in the coffee supply chain, from sowing coffee seeds in a nursery to making drinks as a barista. She began her career in coffee production and roasting in 2011 working with small roasters in Austin, Texas. Later, she worked for Equal Exchange outside Boston, MA, where she focused on cupping and quality control, and she currently works in sales with Primavera Coffee Importers. Her relationship with The Chain Collaborative began in 2017 as a volunteer with their partner Change Leaders in Nicaragua and Ecuador, where she did everything from training a coffee cupper, to analyzing soil samples, to helping process coffee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, Religious Studies, and Government from the University of Texas at Austin. Her coffee drink of choice is a light roast brewed in a V60…usually at least two a day!


Sarah Brinkley

  • Sarah Brinkley

Sarah is a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University’s Center for Coffee Research and Education. Her dissertation research, in Western Honduras, investigates interactions between environment and management on coffee quality using mass spectrometry and sensory evaluation techniques. This work is informed by Sarah's diverse background working internationally in both the coffee and wine industries coupled with a firm foundation in Master’s-level research in bioanalytical chemistry from Tennessee Technological University. By fusing her expertise in the lab and in the roastery, Sarah Brinkley is instrumental in connecting industry to academia. Sarah lives for quiet mornings drinking filter coffee.


Elisa Criscione

  • Elisa Criscione

Elisa holds a Master’s degree in Food Policy from the City University of London and a BSc in Food & Agriculture from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. In 2015, right after obtaining her bachelor's degree in Italy, she started working in sustainable development in Colombia, where she first entered in contact with coffee and started cultivating her interest in transnational supply chains. Moving back to Europe for her Master’s degree, she focused on understanding the complexity of different food value chains which led her curiosity into technology solutions for a fairer and more sustainable system. In 2019, after deepening her understanding in the concrete application of tech solutions in Ghana, she moved back to Italy to fully focus on coffee. Now, she has been supporting coffee companies interested in digitalizing their value chains and tech providers willing to improve their solutions.


Teresa Garcia-Plotkin

  • Teresa

For almost two decades, Teresa was an IT salesperson by profession and has worked for an IT Distribution company in Singapore. She found her passion in coffee and decided to do a career switch. Teresa returned to the Philippines 4 years ago and started teaching at the Barista & Coffee Academy of Asia in Manila, Philippines. While she was still working in IT Sales, she started to develop her love for coffee that she pursued to take up SCA Courses from overseas to obtain her Coffee Skills Diploma under the SCA Education Program. She also took up her Q Arabica Grading Course and got certified in 2016. Teresa is now an Authorized SCA Trainer and is now based in Israel. She holds a Master's degree in Business Administration. 


Being a Sustain Coffee Fellow is another learning opportunity for her while being able to promote resource and information sharing in the coffee industry. For her,  learning and sharing never stops.


Emma Warren

  • Emma Warren

Emma was a barista for many years, and her family owned and operated a small coffee shop called The Coffee Wheel in Santa Fe, NM (beginning in 2017) where she was the manager and lead barista. She recently finished (December 2020) a master’s degree in Sustainable Development at the University of Graz in Austria and University of Basel, Switzerland where she wrote her thesis on profitability of smallholder coffee farmers and the potential of investing in emerging coffee origins. She came at it from a transdisciplinary approach addressing various constraints and opportunities for smallholders who may be new to the specialty market. Throughout the last year of her master’s degree, she started taking the Coffee Sustainability Program with the SCA and is currently in the Professional Level, working on a research project about cost of production and how social and environmental externalities can be/are incorporated.


Adrien Jean

  • Adrien

After graduating with a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Rouen Normandie and working in aeronautics research, Adrien decided to travel the world. He landed in Vietnam where he had the opportunity to meet and interact with pioneers of the local specialty coffee scene. This marked the start of his coffee education and the science behind it. His unquenchable desire to experience, learn and grow from different cultures led him to India where he worked as a Sales Manager for a French engineering company, thus complementing his skills with international business in a vibrantly diverse and expanding country. Two years later, he finally decided to switch his professional field and dedicate himself to his passion - the aromatic world of coffee. Now he can be found fine-tuning his fundamentals as a Barista in Australia!

Dr Pradeepa Babu B N.jpg

Pradeepa Babu, Ph.D.

  • Pradeepa

Dr. Pradeepa Babu B N is currently working as Subject Matter Specialist (Agricultural Economist) in Coffee Board of India. He holds Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences, and Masters’ degree in Agricultural Economics with a Ph.D. in Economics. Most part of his research experience concentrated on coffee and related issues ranging from studying cost and return structure of coffee, value chain assessment across certified, organic and conventional coffee production systems. He was also involved in examining the relationship between coffee futures prices and prices paid to coffee growers in India using time series econometric models. His specialization includes Rural Development, Sustainability, Farm Management and Production Economics, Econometrics, WTO-Coffee & International Trade and Futures & Options. Dr. Pradeepa Babu B N is a recipient of Re:Co Symposium Fellowship. He is life time member of Indian Society of Plantation Crops and the Society of Economics and Development. He authored two books and more than 30 research papers published in national and international journals.


Cassandra Solero

Cassandra holds a bachelor degree in History from Indiana University Bloomington and an Associates degree in Interior Design from Purdue University Fort Wayne. She spent eight years volunteering her time helping run a special needs ice hockey organization. For three years of the eight she was an active board member of two organizations that included a nationally competitive adult adaptive ice hockey program. She worked with kids, parents, adults with disabilities, and disabled military.

She fell in love with specialty coffee about eight years ago and hasn’t looked back. She has spent two years working and learning at Black and White Coffee Roasters. She has been studying Coffee Sustainability with the Specialty Coffee Association since 2020.

Cassandra loves to go to coffee shops and sample the latest roasts.


Joey Dolin

  • Pradeepa

Joey currently works as a Roastery Manager at Dapper & Wise Roasters, where his favorite parts of the job are green buying, roasting, and roaster maintenance. Additionally, he writes blog posts for the company’s website to highlight new coffees, and maintains a blog website of his own. Joey was immediately attracted to the missions of both Sustain Coffee and The Chain Collaborative given their involvement in the industry. He also loves the idea of an online resource library, and believes the fellowship will help him develop his research and writing abilities as he dives deeper into the industry, meets new people, and continues to learn about sustainability concepts. Given his B.A. in Philosophy, he learned how to direct his natural curiosity to think through complex issues, which he understands the coffee industry is full of. Joey lives in Portland with my girlfriend/best friend Maddie, their dog Shredder, and their cat Jinx. When he's not doing coffee things, he's either skateboarding or wishing that he was skateboarding.

Nico Herr.jpg

Nico Herr

  • Herr

Nico Herr has made it their life's mission to hear the dreams of others and make it a reality. For now, that means they sit in a small office at the base of a big mountain building up a team of tomorrow's coffee leaders in East Africa. Nico is often behind the scenes, behind the camera, the type A with the clipboard, the networker with the goal of casting a wide net with the hopes of pulling in a solution for someone else. She believes that we are at a point in coffee production where we must realize opportunities for the most talented voices are often unheard, and she sees it as her duty and responsibility to ensure they are heard within their own communities and abroad. Nico's hope by joining Sustain Coffee is to make coffee research more accessible for all and to formalize their understanding of “sustainability” so they can better serve the company they keep.

Nico is a Certified Q Grader, working towards Q Processing, with a BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies. They have managed coffee and agriculture businesses for over a decade, up and down the East Coast of the US.

bottom of page