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You are here: Home / Academics / Barowsky School of Business / MBA Program / Alumna and VP of Equator Coffee, Maureen McHugh, Savours Roaster’s Choice 1st Place

Alumna and VP of Equator Coffee, Maureen McHugh, Savours Roaster’s Choice 1st Place

Congratulations to our brilliant alumna Maureen McHugh Vice President at Equator Coffee and Tea, and to the entire Equator team.

Maureen McHughWe are pleased to announce that Equator Coffees & Teas has been awarded first place in this year's Roaster's Choice Competition! Sponsored by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Roasters Guild, the competition is designed to highlight the art and craft of specialty coffee roasting. The competition took place in April 2013 during the 25th Annual SCAA Exposition, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. There, the coffee earned the top score, as determined by an expert panel of judges, and was named the winner of the 2013 Roasters Choice competition.

As Vice President, Maureen McHugh has helped to establish and maintain social responsibility at Equator Coffee. Committed to the company since it's founding in 1995, saw the GreenMBA as an opportunity to strengthen her understanding of sustainability initiatives and implementation. Maureen used her GreenMBA capstone project to investigate how to implement environmentally and socially aware initiatives.

Since 1995, Equator Coffees & Teas has maintained a commitment to sustainability and as a result, over 50% of Equator's coffees are certified Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, or some combination of all three. Equator's warehouse is certified by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) for compliance in proper handling and storage of organic coffees, and Equator was one of the first 10 roasters in the U.S. to sign up with TransFair USA to sell Fair Trade coffees. 

In 2005, Equator began purchasing Rainforest Alliance-certified coffees and promoting them to customers.equatorEquator supports each of these three certifications and believes strongly in an inclusive approach to buying that accommodates the true diversity of growing conditions.

Equator is guided by the following principals in procuring green coffee:

Quality leads to sustainability; to ensure quality the necessary premiums must be paid.

Each type of certification has value and is a testament to the improved conditions in which a certified coffee is produced, thus increasing the chances of a quality yield.

An inclusive, informed approach to sourcing coffee that embraces certified coffees, estate coffees and select cooperative coffees guarantees access to quality coffees from a wide range of growing regions.

Equator supports growers who practice sustainable land stewardship and who understand the social, environmental and economic impact of our relationship. Equator has secured long-term direct relationships with growers and when possible travels to the origin in order to strengthen these relationships and gain insight into the unique challenges and conditions of specific coffee-producing regions. Most recently, Helen Russell visited Rwanda and toured several cooperatives. Because of these introductions, Equator is now purchasing green coffee from the Mig Cooperative in Rwanda.

We are pleased to announce that Equator Coffees & Teas has been awarded first place in this year's Roaster's Choice Competition! Sponsored by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Roasters Guild, the competition is designed to highlight the art and craft of specialty coffee roasting. The competition took place in April 2013 during the 25th Annual SCAA Exposition, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. There, the coffee earned the top score, as determined by an expert panel of judges, and was named the winner of the 2013 Roasters Choice competition.

The winning coffee is a very special AAA grade Geisha variety coffee grown by their friends at Granja La Esperanza on their farm Cerro Azul. One of a handful of farms owned and operated by Granja La Esperanza, Cerro Azul is planted almost exclusively to the rare and celebrated botanical variety popularly known as Geisha. The AAA designation is used by Granja La Esperanza to denote the most pronounced intensity of flavor.

Staff had the opportunity to visit Cerro Azul and the Granja La Esperanza family of farms in early 2013 to learn more about their operations. While there tasted the Geisha AAA, in addition to a wide assortment of other coffee types grown and processed by the dedicated team of coffee professionals at Granja La Esperanza. In order for coffee to be sold as Cerro Azul Geisha it must fall into either double or triple A grade classifications based on cup quality. If the coffee does not match the flavor expectations for the Cerro Azul terroir, then it is not sold with the farm designation.

Geisha (also known as Gesha) is an Ethiopia-derived heirloom variety that was planted by Granja La Esperanza as part of a multi-year project focused on producing outstanding coffees through deliberate quality improvement efforts. The project includes the operation and study of a farm in Boquete Panama, the growing region best known for the Geisha variety. Data for every imaginable detail is logged in order to find correlations between different variables and positive results.

Keep up the great work guys!


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