Cristina Talens

One of the things that most inspires me is meeting those people that strive to make a difference.

Their clear vision and clarity of purpose fills me with admiration.

Cristina Talens, Founder & Director of Source Climate Change Coffee is one such person.

Over coffee, of course, we took a moment to talk about what inspires her, where the idea for Source came from, the journey so far and what’s next…

How does Source work?

We produce single origin organic gourmet coffees from Cloud Forest
communities in Africa and Latin America. Our aim is to create radically
luxurious coffees from high grown cloud forests (each with its own unique
character and flavour, determined by the richness of the soil and the
altitude of the cloud forest) whilst ensuring that we remain rigorously
We only buy from communities that are working to address deforestation and
mitigate climate change – for every bag sold, local farmers plan tees to
support the forests and their families. Each bag of coffee offsets 1kg of
CO2 and each tin 6kg of C02 through the planting of new trees around that
specific Cloud Forest.

Where did the idea for Source come from?

I was inspired to create Source Climate Change Coffee after hearing
Professor Sir David King, give a speech on climate change, population growth
and food security at my younger sister’s graduation. Having then sourced my
first 5kgs of coffee from Mexico, I was invited by Cathrine Armour to meet
Bill Clinton at the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi and also to serve the
coffee in the UNEP Pavilion at Rio+20 the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The delegates loved the coffee and that was it!

What is ‘Payment for Ecosystem Services’?

Healthy ecosystems provide services such as climate regulation, watershed
protection and soil management. Ecosystem services underpin agricultural and
other land-based supply chains and so are crucial for sustainable
agriculture. However, climate change, deforestation and other land
degradation taking place means that these ecosystem services are widely
under threat. We are losing our very precious resources…
Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a small payment used to incentivise
small producers, farmer cooperatives and communities to take care of these
precious ecosystems. Take tree planting for example, why do farmers do it?
trees provide food, firewood, shade, they fix nitrogen into the soil, they
keep rivers from going dry, they act as pathways for wildlife… they
provide the ultimate ecosystem service.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge we face in overcoming climate
change and building a sustainable future?

There are 3 real challenges that we are facing globally, first is the
destruction of the world’s forests, secondly is population growth and
thirdly is food security linked to stressed resources (in particular water).
We are short on time and we really need to start taking action now to avoid
global warming. Many people feel this is all in the hands of our world
leaders (and it is!) but it also leads to apathy and a feeling of
disempowerment and it takes away the responsibility from each one of us to
act. So I suppose the greatest challenge is how we get each and every individual to take action into their own hands to create a sustainable future.

Your work has taken you around the world, what is your favourite destination?

I think the most incredible place I’ve ever been to was the Amazon forest of
Peru, where I visited the Ashaninka tribe. This is a place that remains
untouched by time, and it is the first time I actually saw the forests generating clouds that would then carry the rain.

Do you have any words to live by?

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Love that phrase!

What keeps you inspired?

The farmers I work with are pretty up there in terms of inspiration. My
friends and family are the real inspiration to a lot of what I do though.

Yoga, Pilates or Meditation?

Meditation: in the swimming pool or walking the dogs. I was never very good
at sitting still.

And, of course, how do you take your coffee?

Cream with a small sugar cube (ssshhh, it is still a guilty pleasure).