Melanie Leeson has joined green coffee sourcing company and exporter, Caravela Coffee, as their Europe Sales Director. She will lead operations out of their Shoreditch (London) office, lab, and tasting room. She replaces Joanna Lawson, who established Caravela’s London operations in 2016.
Since 2002, Caravela has built its reputation on sourcing quality Colombian coffees through a purchasing model that rewards farmers with high prices for their quality coffee, while also providing year-round free extensive field work so they can continuously improve their quality and productivity and thus their profitability. Starting in 2012, it has expanded its sourcing operations in Latin America, establishing export operations in Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru, in addition to operating from its headquarters in Bogotá, Colombia. Along with the London office, Caravela has import and sales operations in Australia (Sydney, NSW) and in the United States (Chapel Hill, N.C.).
Giancarlo Ghiretti, CFO and co-founder of Caravela said: “We are very excited that Melanie is joining our London based team. Without a doubt her passion for high quality coffee and knowledge of the industry will help our European customers continue to find exciting coffees and establish long lasting relationships in Latin America”.
For Alejandro Cadena, co-founder and CEO of Caravela, the European specialty coffee market has been showing solid growth in the last few years. “Having a European office is key for providing a high-quality service to coffee roasters in the continent and with Melanie joining our team we will be able to continue delivering our customers with the service and level of attention they require.”
Melanie comes from a multi-faceted background of working in coffee retail, sourcing and selling green coffee, and curating the educational program of the most recent Nordic Roaster Forum, which foregrounds her perspective on both the innovations and challenges of specialty coffee, from origin to market. She completed a masters on sustainability and development at the University of Oslo, Norway, and has an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Alberta, Canada.
Prior to beginning her position at Caravela, Leeson worked as a green sourcing and marketing consultant, after helping start Oslo-based green coffee importer Collaborative Coffee Source in 2012 and developing into various lead roles until the end of 2017.
Melanie commented that at Caravela she is looking forward to, “Minimizing and demystifying the gap between origin and UK and European coffee roasters.” She stated that, “I appreciate the Caravela model because it really shows a commitment to relationships and transparency through investment in people that are not only passionate, but also professional and systematic in their approach to quality.”

About Caravela Coffee
Caravela works directly with over 4,000 coffee producers across eight countries in Latin America, 90 percent of which are smallholders. Half of the Caravela team – over 80 people, are agronomists or cuppers providing training, technical support and cupping feedback to producers in Colombia, Ecuador,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. With import offices in Europe, North America, and
Australia—plus the staff throughout coffee-producing countries—Caravela Coffee is dedicated to
bridging the gap between specialty coffee roasters and smallholder coffee farmers, focused on quality
and long-term sustainable relationships.

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