Aleco is the co-founder and president of Red Fox Coffee Merchants. Aleco grew up in his family’s coffee roasting business in Philadelphia, PA, learning that business from the bottom up. He picked up his first cupping spoon at age 15 and had his first coffee epiphany at age 19, when Yirgacheffe made its grand entrance into his life.
After completing his B.S. in International Relations at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Aleco moved to Costa Rica to work on a coffee farm for what was supposed to be four months. After a harvest spent between the farm and the wet mill, Aleco moved down the mountain to San Jose where he decided to stay and embark on a 4-year stint working for two different trading houses including the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe. He became the very first certified Q-Grader from the United States in 2003. After leaving Costa Rica, Aleco spent a year working with Ric Rhinehart in L.A. before serving as Chief Coffee Buyer for Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, OR. He moved to the Bay in March 2012 to join the buying team at Coffee Shrub and Sweet Maria’s. Aleco opened the doors to Red Fox Coffee Merchants on January 1, 2014.
Joel started roasting coffee in 1997, after a three year stint as a barista, and hasn’t stopped since. He began in the midwest and roasted his way across the country until he found himself in the Bay Area, where he spent five years as head roaster for Ritual Coffee in San Francisco. As head of quality control for Red Fox, you’ll find Joel on the sample roaster, at the cupping table, or answering questions about new coffees. Ask him about contracts, samples, roasting — anything, really. There’s nothing he’d rather do than chat about coffee.
Joel has a B.A. in Buddhist Studies from Naropa University, which is why he works in coffee.
Julia leads business operations and finance for Red Fox, and has been an integral part of the team since day one. Based in Berkeley, Julia works closely with Joel on cupping and approvals in the lab, and also heads up Red Fox’s sourcing efforts in Rwanda.
Julia comes to Red Fox from Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco where she worked in project management & wholesale operations. Before that, she split her time between political campaigns in Washington, DC & Southern California, beekeeping in eastern Washington state, and studying yoga & meditation in India & Nepal. Julia has a B.A. in International Relations and French from Pomona College in Claremont, CA.
Zach began working in coffee on the other side of the world in Shanghai, China. His passion for food and Mandarin took him there, but two years later he left with an excitement for coffee that lingers to this day. After completing his Masters of International Business at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, he went on to work as the Risk Supervisor for the specialty coffee division of Olam International before winding up at Red Fox. Zach is really excited to be on the team and make an impact with both our producing partners and roasting partners.
RJ joins Red Fox as a lab tech and content team member, bringing her experience and enthusiasm for cupping, roasting, and writing to the team. After graduating from University of Pittsburgh with a writing degree, she found coffee through barista work and eventually followed her heart to Oakland, CA, where she became a certified Q-Grader and learned to roast, sling bags, and drive a forklift with the pros. Uniting her twin passions for coffee and writing, she first launched a blog in 2016, then started writing for Barista Magazine, Sprudge, and Fresh Cup Magazine, always maintaining a central focus on the ways in which coffee can make the world a more equitable place. Because she believes it’s as easy as it is foolish to take yourself too seriously, she also runs a coffee satire site called The Knockbox. Outside of work, you’ll probably find her cooking, listening to records, drinking wine, and enjoying the beauty of Oakland. If you see her around (especially if you find yourself standing alone awkwardly at an event), please say hi, because she loves meeting new people.
Adam joins Red Fox as Aleco’s right hand man on the trading desk and as point person for all things sales. After a diverse exploration of the world of food and agriculture, including stints as manager of an organic ginger farm outside of Hilo, Hawaii and several wine harvests in Oregon and Chile, Adam found his true calling and home in the coffee business. For over a decade, he has focused on green coffee, working primarily with coffee quality and farmers at origin, while keeping Portland, Oregon as his home base. After getting his Q-Grader license in Armenia, Colombia in 2008, he worked with the Coffee Quality Institute as a Coffee Corps Volunteer and Assistant Instructor, and has been involved in judging various regional coffee quality competitions. For three years, Adam worked as Green Coffee Buyer and Source Relationship Manager for Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and prior to that as a Trader and Quality Control Manager for Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers.
Adam has a B.A. in Sustainable Food Systems from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Other than coffee, he enjoys spending time and traveling with his wife Sarah and son Judah, being outside doing anything, and drinking and talking about natural wine and mezcal.
Chloe manages daily logistics for Red Fox. From releasing customer orders to coordinating freight, drafting contracts, handling invoices, and managing inventory, Chloe basically has all the answers.
Chloe brings her experience working in public relations and marketing to the Red Fox team. During her 7 months living in Nicaragua, Chloe worked in the PR department at CISA Exportadora, a coffee exporting company in Matagalpa. She helped grow their community outreach programs, working on projects like Operations Smile Nicaragua and CISA’s initiative to teach English to children in the coffee growing communities of Nicaragua. In 2007, Chloe moved to NYC and spent 5 years working in media ad sales and marketing for NBC Network. Chloe began her undergraduate degree at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and received her B.A. in Communication and Art History from Rutgers University in 2006.
Ali joins Red Fox as the GM of our new office and cupping lab in Lima, Peru. Born in Brazil and raised in California, Ali got her start in Peru in 2010 when she organized the Let’s Talk Coffee event for Sustainable Harvest in Tarapoto. She went on to work at ACDI/VOCA in Lima, supporting the implementation and management of a USAID-funded coffee program. Ali spent the last three years at Root Capital in Lima, coordinating their impact studies in Latin America. She has a B.A. in International Studies from Boston College.
Britta joined Red Fox in January 2019 and supports Julia with business operations and finance. Her responsibilities include bookkeeping, financial reporting, and financial analysis. Britta loves coffee and enjoys learning the subtleties of sourcing and roasting beans.
Prior to joining Red Fox, Britta worked as the Director of Operations at a hedge fund in San Francisco for seven years. She also worked in project finance for renewable energy for three years. Britta earned her BS from Portland State University and MBA from UC Davis. When she’s not clicking away at the computer, you can find her at the beach with her dog, or practicing handstands at circus.
Rachel discovered her passion for coffee and the customer experience while working as a barista and studying Fine Art Photography at San Francisco State. After splitting her time between creative endeavors and barista shifts, she received an opportunity to manage Sightglass Coffee’s 20th St cafe in San Francisco. She helped to shape the team and culture for the new cafe’s first year, and then moved on to hone new skills as Trainer and Account Manager for Sightglass. Rachel’s passion for people is evident in the detail and care she puts into her work. She received her Arabica Q-Grader certificate with Gather Coffee Company in San Rafael in July 2017.
As Red Fox’s Berkeley Lab Assistant, Rachel works under the wing of Joel and Julia: cupping, roasting, and managing outgoing samples to customers.
Gabby joins Red Fox as a Junior Trader. She first started working in coffee as a barista while attending university in California over seven years ago. In 2013, she took a break from her studies to travel Latin America and learn more about the coffee supply chain. After graduating with a B.A. in Latin American Studies from UCLA, she received a fellowship to attend the Re:co Symposium which kickstarted her career in green coffee and moved her to Australia, New Zealand, and Colombia with the green coffee company Raw Material. Now based in Seattle, WA, she has her Q Processing Level 1 and Q Grader certificates. Aside from coffee, she greatly enjoys travel, outdoor activities, fine foods and beverages, and plants.