Meet the team: Émilie Coulombe
Émilie Coulombe is another well-respected member of our team here at Condesa. As well as being part of our coffee sales team, she’s also the Secretary of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance’s Australian chapter.
Émilie has been a long-time coffee enthusiast, and says that since her parents never particularly enjoyed coffee, her fascination with the “forbidden fruit” began when she first tasted it. Read on to understand a bit more about her role at Condesa.
Émilie’s love for coffee
Émilie says that first and foremost, she loves being part of the Australian coffee scene. She says she’s especially excited about introducing people to great coffees they haven’t tried before.
“I’m really passionate about coffee and the many ways that it unites people,” she explains. “I love that in this role, I’m responsible for bringing great coffee into Australia and distributing it to roasters all over.”
She adds that she loves being able to work with a company that’s as passionate about coffee and people as she is.
Émilie began working in the Australian coffee industry as a barista. After moving to Melbourne – considered by some to be the “coffee capital of the world” – with practically nothing, she found herself a job in green coffee trading and quality control. In this role, Émilie’s focus was on SaaS architecture and sustainability initiatives.
She says working in both Australia and the US has helped her to become more familiar with different coffee cultures around the world.
Émilie then took a hiatus from the coffee sector for a short period (which involved working in cyber security) before starting a position at Condesa.
At Condesa, Émilie is principally part of our coffee sales team, but she also maintains purchasing relationships with origin partners. This means that on any given day, as well as speaking to prospective partners, you might also find her cupping coffee as part of the quality control process.
Émilie is also studying full-time, in addition to her role with us and the board position at the IWCA.
Questions for Émilie
What advice would you give people about working in the specialty coffee industry?
“I would say don’t underestimate yourself and don’t sell yourself short. If coffee is something that you are passionate and curious about, it’s definitely possible to have a career in the industry.
“Too often, I think people – especially women – think they need to have 100% of the required skills to apply for a role, when really, if you are keen and self-driven to learn, you are unstoppable. Skills are easily taught, but you can’t teach passion.
“I would also say that there is a wide array of careers within the coffee community, from being a machine tech, to marketing, to agriculture, and chemistry! There are no limits here.”
What are some challenges you encounter on a daily basis?
“Of course, we’ve seen challenges with the market over the past year, which was around when I started at Condesa. I’ve had to have challenging conversations while educating and explaining the different aspects of the coffee market.
“Also, for a big chunk of my time here so far, I wasn’t able to meet people in person due to the lockdowns, which was interesting.
“But I’d say day-to-day, I find that because I’m not from here, I don’t always know all the local companies and people who seem to be well known in the Aussie industry – unless I have had an interaction of my own – and it makes me feel like a Martian!”
What is something you would like people to know about Condesa?
“Something that I think is cool, which most people probably don’t know, is that Condesa has Mexican roots. When I first joined Condesa, I wondered where the name came from, as Condesa translates to ‘countess’. The company is actually named after a suburb in Mexico City.
“There is a certain lore and romance associated with our ties to Mexico, so I thought it was important to ‘nod’ to this inspiration. There are also several Mexican-inspired decor accents in our Melbourne office for that reason.”
Tell us about a project or initiative that you’re particularly proud of.
“I recently took a course on sustainability reporting and I’m particularly proud to be able to utilise those skills learned at Condesa. As a company, we are involved in so many different projects and initiatives, having positive ripple effects in the coffee supply chain and beyond.
“We haven’t always explained what we are doing and why it’s important – the intention behind it all. I hope I can help Condesa and, ideally, our clients with that as more information is made available. I hope Condesa is seen as a transparent and sustainable partner.”