Julia Leitner

Project Manager, Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers

United States of America

Born in California and raised in New Mexico, Julia graduated from Harvard University. She arrived in Portland by way of Argentina, Oakland, and Colombia. Julia coordinates and quantifies Sustainable Harvest®’s impact at origin. She leads structuring and analysis of social, environmental, and economic data. She manages the data-driven design and implementation of development programs and social investments at source. She also oversees Africa producer relations. Julia began her career in coffee by founding an ecotourism business in rural Colombia that increases the incomes of smallholder coffee farmers. After work, Julia can be found rock climbing, cooking, doing yoga, reading, and exploring the outdoors and Portland’s cafes.


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Millennial Coffee Drinkers, Meet Millennial Coffee Farmers

In every industry around the world, including coffee, companies are working hard to under­stand the consumption patterns of Millennials-the demo­graphic born between the mid-1980s and the early-2000s. Millennials recently passed Baby Boomers as the largest gener­ation in the work­force, meaning they have disposable income to spend. So what drives Millennials?

Transforming Values

By Julia Leitner Basura Cero (Zero Waste) street cleaner works in front of a green mural in Bogotá. Photo by Julia Leitner. View the photo gallery. Mounds of garbage amassed on street corners, in front of houses. Bags splayed open, spilling onto the sidewalks, filling the city with stench.

Harvard Political Review
Understanding Art and Border Smudging - Harvard Political Review

Raúl Cárdenas Osuna spoke Thursday October 28 in a conference hosted by DRCLAS, Cultural Agents, Cátedra Cultura de México and Conaculta Fonca. Cárdenas Osuna is an artist, activist and the founder of Torolab, a collective in Tijuana, Mexico that organizes urban and community interventions.

Harvard Political Review
Cultural Agents - Harvard Political Review

You hear the phrases constantly. "The system is failing." "We just can't go on like this anymore." So imagine this. No, that's it. Just imagine. What would it look like? What would we do differently? And then instead of crowding your mind with the clutter of institutions and what is and is not possible, employ some of that finger-painting recklessness they taught in first grade.

Blog Posts

Cascara tea, the ambrosia made from coffee cherry byproduct, lands in the U.S

We're very excited to announce a new shipment that just landed from Costa Rica. Las Lajas, our coffee-producing partner from the hills of Costa Rica's Central Valley, recently sent over this year's harvest of cascara, the coffee cherry byproduct that also makes for a delicious, tea-like infusion. Cascara is not, strictly speaking, tea.

Young grower brings unique perspective from Colombia

You know that feeling you get when you see someone truly beautiful? Taste something truly transporting? Smell something truly delicious? When we're around beauty, it instantly generates feelings of nervousness and awe. With beauty comes curiosity as well because it implies something different, something unusual, something unattainable.

Revealing the reality of leaf rust in Mexico

(Ghost written for colleague) Over the past five months, I have traversed Mexico's coffee regions dozens of times. My travels have taken me over volcanic mountains with rich black soils, and across azure rivers and lakes. I have driven south to Chiapas and continued north through Oaxaca and Veracruz, visiting Sustainable Harvest ® 's producer groups.

Spirit of the Season: Young Cuppers Exchange Ideas and Experiences at Origin

It's the time of year for gift swapping, family communion, and holiday coffee blends. This holiday season, we wanted to highlight a different kind of exchange taking place at origin. While many of us in the United States are dreaming of snow and getting bombarded by holiday pageantry, in Colombia's Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, cooperatives are hard at work bringing in the harvest.

Nicaraguan producers overcoming challenges from dry weather

(Ghost written for colleague) May is the beginning of the rainy season in Nicaragua. It's also the month that many of Sustainable Harvest ®'s Nicaraguan micro-lots ship, and those coffees are now arriving in the United States. Typically, the dry Nicaraguan summer starts in November.

Next generation of coffee farmers shine in Colombia

Colombian coffee is steeped in tradition-just take a look at the 1950s-era Willys Jeeps transporting coffee down from the mountains for one example. This tradition has led one generation after another to take up coffee farming, but it appears we're entering a transitional period.

Field Days aim to create stronger farmers

From inside the shed come peals of laughter. I peer around the rusted metal double doors. Inside the long, narrow cinderblock structure, a group of men, women, and children sit on red plastic chairs and bags of fertilizers. They gather around a PowerPoint presentation projected onto a dusty whitish wall.

Dissecting the Diagnostic Visit

(Ghost written for colleague) As Sustainable Harvest ®'s Coffee Quality Manager in Colombia, I spend at least one week out of every month visiting producers all around the country. I'm constantly in communication with the organizations we work with: giving cupping feedback, organizing trainings and calibrations, and making suggestions based on roasters' needs.

Experiencia Cafetera
This is the Meaning of Freshly Roasted

As we wound through mountain roads, fresh evening air streamed through the windows. The breeze was laden with the scent of blossoming coffee plants, a fragrance akin to the perfume of jasmine. From the back of the car wafted the aroma of freshly roasted coffee, emanating from the nearly 200 bags of coffee we had just roasted.

El alma del arte: an interview with Gualicho

Like many words of indigenous origin, the etymology of the word "gualicho" tracks a sinuous history of many interpretations, understandings, and appropriations. A combination of Wikipedia and Real Academia Española dictionary reveal that the colonial Spanish first understood Gualicho as the name of a bad spirit or demon in the Tehuelche culture of the...

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