March 03, 2023

Meet the Team: Halina Klos

Who are the Union team? We're a blend of passionate coffee lovers, sourcing, roasting and talking all things speciality coffee. This week, we're celebrating International Women's Day and chatting to Halina Klos, one of our longest-standing Unionistas and Head of Training & Development.

Union Hand Roasted Coffee

How did you start your journey in coffee?

My coffee journey started when I was 8 years old. After school I was sitting with anticipation for my mum to give me a sip of her afternoon brew. It was bitter, lingering but strangely enjoyable. It was different that everything I was eating or drinking at that age.

What is your favourite thing about working in coffee?

One of the reasons I enjoy working with coffee so much, apart from coffee, are the people. At Union and in the wider coffee community, I have the pleasure to spend time with very knowledgeable, creative and sociable folks. In training specifically, I get exposed to very diverse groups, and it makes sharing the joy of training even bigger and more rewarding. It is a real privilege to be able to spend time with new generation of the future coffee leaders.

How long have you worked for Union?

I joined Union 15 years ago as a Coffee Trainer & Auditor.

What does a "normal day" look like for you?

There are no normal days at Union. We are very busy and constantly participating in new and challenging projects, saying that, there are things that we often take part in. That involves tasting new and exciting microlots, meeting with our existing and potential customers, collaborating with our suppliers, training others and ourselves of course!

If you were a Union coffee, what would you be and why?

It’s never an easy choice, but at the moment I am going to have to say our newest microlot “Women of Maraba”, a delicious washed bourbon that helps to secure higher incomes for members of the Maraba Women's Groups. The Maraba Women's Groups were formed in 2020 and use microfinance programmes to enable the women to challenge the barriers they face gaining their own independent incomes – a significant issue in rural Rwanda. 

Sourcing speciality coffee from women farmers is just one of the ways we support women throughout the supply chain – meaning we can pay price premiums as well as help increase the visibility of women-grown coffee. 

In 2021, of the coffee we sourced from the Maraba co-operative, around half was from the Women's Groups, and we paid 0.75¢ / lb more than the world market price. Commercial coffee is traded on the world market, which is volatile and often offers farmers a price that does not cover their cost of production. In 2022, across all of producing partners, we paid ∼$3 million above world market price, supporting the livelihoods of 40,000+ farming families.

For more information about the group and our relationship with Maraba, you can find the information here.


This year’s international Women’s Day Theme is “Embrace Equity”, what does this mean to you as a woman working in coffee?

I’ve been working in Coffee Industry for almost 20 years. I spent those years studying Latin American Culture, working as barista and a roaster in a café in Poland, and most recently as Head of Training & Development for Union. I’ve been surrounded and taught by many wonderful people, who helped me grow and learn. I’m grateful for all the experiences I had, no matter how hard or easy they were. True learning comes from hardship, not from the place of comfort! I consider myself incredibly lucky, as I live and work in the place in the world where women are empowered, cherished, and given tools they need to grow.  I know many women who can say the same thing. We should celebrate together, the empowerment, freedom and tools and help those who don’t have it!

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