Being a barista and roaster were Emily Pappo’s hobbies before she made it into a career. While completing her undergrad at NYU in environmental studies, and completing a thesis on coffee in Brazil, she was a barista at a local coffee shop. Since then, Emily has become passionate about all aspects of coffee production and has been working with coffee for nine years.
“What I love about coffee is that the possibilities are endless,” Emily said. “If you get bored you can learn and try different parts of the coffee making process.”
Emily currently works for Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland Maine, where
their production. She travels around the world to source, buy the beans and visit the producers directly on their farms. “It’s a fun industry full of people who are passionate about what they are doing,” said Emily.
Emily always knew that she wanted to go back to school; however she wanted to first get some experience in the coffee industry before advancing her education. “I was able to learn what issues the industry is facing,” said Emily. “Having this background and being able to speak with people in the industry to understand their goals is helpful.”
Curious to know more about what coffee farmers were doing day-to-day and to investigate the ecology of coffee farming, Emily decided to enroll in amasters program. She was drawn to the UF Agroecology program because of its high quality and ability to be completed online, which would allow her to continue working. She is now a M.S. Thesis student under Dr. Luke Flory’s supervision.
Emily completed her first semester in spring 2017 and is now preparing for her visit to Tarrazu in Costa Rica, where she will go two to three times a year for a week collecting data on the farm. Her research will focus on how climate change, and especially drought, affects coffee production and the different ways coffee cultivars respond. There are hundreds of coffee cultivars and each may respond differently: some varieties can produce beans with very different flavors or be heartier than others when grown under water-limited conditions. Understanding the responses of these diverse coffee cultivars to water stress will be useful for producers as they are trying to maintain their production quality in this changing environment. “One of the biggest issues with coffee research is that there is not a lot of data,” said Emily, “It is going to be exciting, I can’t wait to get started!”