The Neumann Kaffee Gruppe Partnership to Advance Coffee Equity (NKG PACE) is delighted to announce the selection of its inaugural NKG PACE Partners!

NKG PACE, launched in June and created in cooperation with the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity (CCRE), is a paid, one-year, QC-focused program through which the three NKG U.S. companies — Atlas Coffee Importers, InterAmerican Coffee, and Rothfos Corporation — will share their knowledge of the green-coffee industry, as well as the quality expertise of their sister export companies in nearly every coffee-producing country, in the interest of promoting diversity in higher levels of the U.S. coffee industry. The CCRE, which is integral to the development and execution of the program, will additionally pair each Partner with a professional mentor for the duration of the program.

The NKG PACE Partners will begin May 2 with a group orientation at NKG U.S. headquarters in
Hoboken, N.J.; one Partner will remain in Hoboken, another will join the InterAmerican office in San Diego, and the third will join the Atlas Coffee Importers office in Seattle.

Porttia Portis

porttia portis portrait
Porttia Portis

Porttia (she/her) is a journalist turned coffee professional from Dallas, Texas, via Dayton, Ohio.

Though, as a self-proclaimed military brat, she grew up all over the world. Porttia’s love for coffee began at an early age, with her father sneaking her sips of his morning coffee, and eventually led to a barista position. She imagined it was a temporary fit, as she developed her writing career, but she quickly fell in love with the coffee industry.

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Eventually advancing to a number of management positions, Porttia recognized a lack of diversity and equity in coffee and began utilizing her journalism experience to voice these concerns. Through these efforts, she’s found a like-minded community that aims to create greater representation for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ coffee professionals.

Porttia will be joining the Atlas Coffee Imports team in Seattle.

Jayy Terrell

jayy terrell portrait
Jayy Terrell

Jayy (they/them), is a Houston native who discovered the city’s coffee scene through a barista job six years ago. They were immediately hooked and have since worked at several coffee bars. Jayy is an intense self-educator who has focused on everything from brewing, extraction and latte art to customer education and roasting. They have degrees in English and Anthropology and a goal of becoming an independent coffee roaster.

Jay’s favorite coffee memory is judging a Houston Queer Pride Coffee Throwdown. As for secret skills? They’ve been a dog trainer and are certified in doggy CPR.

Jayy will be joining the InterAmerican Coffee team in San Diego.

Charles Umeano

charles umeano portrait
Charles Umeano

Charles (he/him) is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he was on the Dean’s List and a University Scholar Award Recipient. Growing up in a Nigerian household, he says, the question was whether he wanted to be a lawyer, a doctor or an engineer. But coffee won out. Charles has worked in cafes and roasteries in Atlanta, New York City and Boston, in roles including wholesale manager, head barista and quality control lead. He has set standards for team operating procedures, hosted employee and buyer cuppings, developed partnerships, established coffee programs and managed large teams while setting standards for high retention.

When asked about his favorite coffee memory, Charles says he hopes to someday answer: The first time I set foot on a coffee farm with NKG PACE! But until then, he offers: “The first time I had an espresso that tasted like blueberries and learned that coffee could taste like fruit.”

Charles, a Brooklyn resident, will be joining the office in Hoboken, which is shared by the Neumann Gruppe USA holding company, Rothfos Corporation, and InterAmerican Coffee.

Looking Ahead

“Opportunities in coffee, beyond retail, can be hard to discover and difficult to access. NKG PACE offers a view of the breadth of the green coffee industry, which is NKG’s sole focus,” says Michelle Maisto, head of Marketing at Neumann Gruppe U.S. and program coordinator for NKG PACE.

“Porttia, Jayy, and Charles are fantastic and ambitious coffee professionals. We’re excited to share our group knowledge, expose them to more aspects of the coffee industry, and see where their interests take them.”

Please follow NKG PACE on Instagram to join the Partners on their journey and to learn more about the NKG PACE program. Or, sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the NKG PACE home page to receive occasional updates.

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