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Vera Espíndola Rafael

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Azahar Coffee Company


Vera has a master’s degree in Development Economics and a bachelor’s in international business. She worked at the research arm at ANACAFE and subsequently as Regional Manager for Latin America at UTZ, now called Rainforest Alliance.

From 2016 to 2018, Vera worked for the Mexican Secretary of Agriculture in the Plan for the Care of Coffee. She focused on harmonizing the elements of sustainable coffee production in the national coffee program. During this time, she formed part of the Mexican delegation for the ICO and the Mesoamerican program PROMECAFE.

In the last years, she has been leading a consulting agency where she continued to focus on creating strategies to improve the resilience of coffee farmers as a consultant for different sector actors, thereby also focusing on promoting domestic consumption. Recently her study on this topic got published by the SCA, “A Business Case to Increase Specialty Coffee Consumption in Producing Countries” as well as her work for IICA “El Mercado del Café en la region Mesoamericana, oportunidades y limitaciones comerciales intrareggionales”.

Since 2019 she also is part of the Board of Directors of the Specialty Coffee Association and the Coffee Science Foundation.

In 2020, she embarked on a new journey with Azahar Coffee Company, where she is leading their Strategic Initiatives, specifically the research behind the “A Sustainable Coffee Buyer’s Guide”, a new pricing tool, as well as initiating operations in Mexico.

She remains as an advisor for the Mexican Secretary of Agriculture on specific coffee related activities.

To meet with Vera, email thewondry@vanderbilt.edu.