History of Coffee in Southern California Panel Discussion
A lively panel of Southern California coffee experts discuss important developments in the region’s coffee landscape, beginning with early settlers who packed green coffee in their covered wagons and roasted the beans over a nightly campfire to sustain their difficult cross-country journeys. Topics include the rise of local commercial and specialty roasters and coffee houses spanning the 20th century. Finally, the panelists explore the arrival of coffee’s Third Wave and highlight the proliferation of espresso bars and cafés that dot the map of Southern California today.
About the moderator:
Melissa Pugash, a 30-year industry veteran, provides coffee industry executives with the marketing insight they need to make sound, strategic decisions and build their brands in the US and around the world. Prior to becoming an independent consultant in 2001, Melissa spent five years as Communication/Marketing Director, Specialty Coffee Association of America; four years in US and international sales for Tea & Coffee Journal and Tea & Coffee Asia; four years as PR & Marketing Director, Castle Communications (agency specializing in brand building for the coffee and tea sectors); and two years as Account Supervisor, MetroCom Marketing Communications. Melissa received SCAA’s Special Recognition Award (1996) and SCAA’s Outstanding Contribution to The Association Award (2011). She earned a B.A. from Tufts University and has completed social media marketing intensive programs at UCLA. She chairs the UCLA Women’s Heart Health Advisory Board and is a Co-Founder of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance.
About the panelists:
Lisette Gaviña Lopez comes from a long line of coffee growers and roasters. The Gaviña family has been in the coffee business for over 140 years starting in Cuba, and today owns F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc., the nation’s largest minority owned family coffee roaster, and a leading producer of high-quality great-tasting coffee for more than four generations. Last year, the company celebrated 50 years of roasting in Los Angeles. As Marketing Director, Lisette oversees the company’s brands including Don Francisco’s Coffee, Café La Llave espresso, Gaviña Gourmet Coffee and Jose’s Gourmet Coffee. Her recent projects include the opening of the family’s first ever first brick and mortar coffee shop, Don Francisco’s Coffee Casa Cubana in downtown LA. Born and brought up in Los Angeles, Lisette holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. She is also a graduate of the USC Food Industry Management Executive Program.
James Marcotte began his career in specialty coffee in 1992 with the establishment of City Bean Coffee, a roaster/retailer located in Westwood Village. James and partner Sol Salzer grew City Bean into 3 retail locations including coffee roasting operations centered around a 1922 Probat UG15 vintage roaster. He has since held several public-facing positions in the coffee industry that have broadened his view and experience. In addition to serving in National Sales for Swiss Water Decaffeinated, James worked in green coffee importing and distribution for Madera Coffee Corp., and was active in marketing and business development for Cirqua Customized Water. In 2005 he was responsible for the launch of Intelligentsia Coffee wholesale operations in Los Angeles and is currently a Senior Business Development Executive at Intelligentsia for the Western US. Born in Lewiston Maine, and brought up in San Luis Obispo, California, James received a Bachelor of Arts degree from University California at Irvine.
Mike Sheldrake is considered a pioneer in the specialty coffee world. He was Co-Founder of Polly’s Gourmet Coffee in Long Beach in 1976 and is President of Sheldrake Coffee Roasters. Polly’s Coffee has evolved from a neighborhood gem into a local institution serving a thriving community. The charming and very comfortable coffeehouse features an espresso bar and an in-house bakery. Polly’s website serves a nationwide clientele of discriminating customers who know that the coffee they get from Polly’s is roasted with Mike’s skill, passion and unmatched quality. In addition to being a Charter Member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America he has been a guest lecturer at SCAA and California State College Long Beach and serves as President of Belmont Shore Business Association. Most days, Mike can still be found beside Polly’s vintage German-made 1929 Probat roaster.
A reception with refreshments will follow the talk at approximately 11:30.
Free and open to the public!