Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2015

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 98 of 107

FROM THE TIME she had her first great cup of coffee at George Howell's famed Coffee Connection in Boston, Helen Russell, cofounder of Equator Coffees & Teas, has been a pioneer in specialty coffee. In 1992 she and partner Brooke McDonnell launched their first coffee business, Europa Espresso Bars: two coffee carts in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. Intrigued by roasting, they started Equator three years later, which has since become the first certified B -Corp coffee roaster in the county. The duo charted a unique two-decade- long course as they built Equator into one of the San Francisco Bay Area's most respected coffee companies. As Equator has grown, so has Helen's engagement with the larger coffee com- munity. Her reach now stretches all of the way to Central America, where she co-owns a coffee farm, Finca Sophia, in Panama. We had the chance to interview Helen about her 20-plus years working in specialty coffee, and what's on the horizon for her and Equator. Helen Russell Business-Minded Sustainability Champion By Kenneth R. Olson MASTER 99

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