06 Aug '18, 2pm
Remembering Erna Knutson, Coffee's Feminist Pioneer
She was generous, if not to a fault, then beyond normal, with her time, knowledge, and understanding. For years before the Specialty Coffee Association of America (now the SCA) hired its first professional staff person, Erna was the unofficial spokesperson for the industry, speaking to reporters about the new fad known as specialty coffee. Perhaps because her story can be understood as something of an underdog story, she loved to see people succeed against the expectations if not the odds; and while she was not at all shy of the spotlight, she was likely to drag someone else into the spotlight with her to share it. She had a guffaw that bordered on a cackle and yet was thoroughly charming because it was so genuine, and often surprising, because if anyone could find humor in unexpected places, it was Erna Knutsen.