90+ Profiles: Getting to Know Karen Cebreros


Who are you and what do you do in coffee?

My name is Karen Cebreros. I am a green coffee trader, a pioneer in organic coffee, co-founder of Women In Coffee, a co-founder of the Sustainability Committee, and the Founder of CoffeeCares.

How and when did you get started in the coffee business?

I took a trip to Peru in 1989 to visit my brother-in-law. When I was there I saw real poverty for the first time, and wanted to help the farmers.

What jobs have you held in the industry?

I’ve been an organic developer in 13 countries, a roaster, a trader, a software developer, developed solutions for sustainability, cupping labs in a box, and founder of ECOTOOL and IWCA BOD.

What people and/or things inspire you, coffee-wise?

Erna Knutsen, and cooperative coffee farmers.

What would you like to see change in the industry?

I would like it if we could erase poverty and domestic violence in the coffee sector.

If you were to die and come back as a drink, what drink would you be? 

A triple shot of espresso.

What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to coffee?

I have established Women in Coffee chapters in 13 countries, and a vertical software platform for engaging the entire industry – CoffeeCares – that’s the first in the world like it to allow donations online.

What do you think others would say is your greatest contribution to coffee?

Helping to bringing organics into North America.

What’s next for you?

I will be trading women’s organic coffee, opening micro credit unions in coffee origins for women, bringing solar cookers to coops, opening markets for women producers in coffee and crafts, selling software for employee engagement, and raising ten million dollars over the next three years from all of our coffee people helping online.

Has coffee affected your “non-coffee” life? If so, in what way?

Yes. I have been introduced to helping others in the United States as well through Rotary and Soroptimists organizations.

Who’s the person you’d most like to see us interview next?

Bob Fulmer at Royal Coffee.