Who are you and what do you do in coffee?
I’m Lindsey Bolger, Senior Director of coffee for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters–Specialty Coffee Business Unit. I enjoy my role because of its broad scope, including leading green coffee sourcing, relationship management and purchasing activities, leading green and roasted coffee sensory quality, partnering with our marketing and brand management teams on new product development, working with public relations to help tell our story and teaming up with internal, external and industry partners to help sustain the supply of high quality coffee.
How and when did you get started in the coffee business?
I began my work in coffee as a barista at Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters while a college student in Olympia, WA. My interest in coffee cultivation, culture, trade and economy dove-tailed perfectly with my academic focuses in Political Economy and Environmental Studies. After graduation, I was able to continue to pursue these interests through my work in coffee, and have been doing so ever since.
What jobs have you held in the industry?
Barista, Roaster, Product Developer, Trainer, Green Coffee Buyer, VP of Coffee and Senior Director of Coffee
What people and/or things inspire you, coffee-wise?
I’ve been inspired by so many people, each of them fueled by coffee, a driving passion for quality, curiosity and a quest for knowledge. I see these traits expressed by people engaged in all facets of our industry.
What would you like to see change in the industry?
Producers are the foundation of our industry, yet despite some significant advances in the past few years, their voices and interests are still often marginalized. The SCAA is doing an outstanding job helping to develop forums where producers can share their stories, challenges and concerns while creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement to help address some of these challenges.
If you could be re-incarnated and come back as a drink, what drink would you be?
What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to coffee?
I really enjoy championing emerging origins and regions that are preparing to enter, or reenter, the specialty scene, and being part of the process that helps get them there. Whether in a training capacity, networking and making linkages, or simply agreeing to purchase a few containers, it’s thrilling to see the specialty coffee landscape evolve as new players come on board.
What do you think others would say is your greatest contribution to coffee?
A willingness to take risks.
What’s next for you?
I’m excited by my Board of Directors work for World Coffee Research initiative and look forward to helping it grow. I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to do more volunteer work with CQI (if they’ll have me!) and other organizations that are making an impact at origin.
Has coffee affected your “non-coffee” life? If so, in what ways?
After more than 25 years, it’s difficult to think of ways in which my life hasn’t been affected by coffee!
Who’s the person you’d most like to see us interview next?
Coffee farmers and millers Francesca and Oscar Chacon of Finca Las Lajas in La Sabanilla, Costa Rica. You couldn’t ask for a more passionate, innovative, quality and knowledge driven couple!