Erica Peñuñuri: Hygge’s Source for Coffee & Stories about Coffee
Erica Peñuñuri knows a good story – and a good cup of coffee. She’s been all over the world to find the special place where those two – stories and coffees – intersect.
Peñuñuri is Manager of North American sales for Nordic Approach, a coffee sourcing company based in Oslo, the capital of Norway. Nordic Approach believes in sustainable, premium green coffees and hitting the pavement to find, identify, improve, and import good coffee with a special origin. As a company, they’re an organization and culture with a natural ability to bring together the right people at every part of the coffee production process – from farm to roastery.
It’s that approach that attracted Peñuñuri to the company in the first place.
A 2013 graduate of Southern Methodist University with a B.A. in Convergence Journalism, Peñuñuri started her career as a News Reporter for KXXV, an ABC-affiliated television station in Central Texas that serves cities including Waco, Temple and Killeen.
“I was out in the middle of nowhere Texas, and I really just needed a creative outlet that wasn’t the hard-hitting news stories,” Peñuñuri recalls. “So, I started visiting coffee shops and blogging about them; the more I wrote about them, the more questions I asked and the more I learned; I was just mesmerized by coffee.”
She left news for the corporate world, working in media production for AT&T at their headquarters in Dallas. She then re-located back home to Southern California to work in branding.
Through it all though – there was always coffee, coffee shops, travels, and stories.
She moved to Charlotte in 2016 when her boyfriend (now fiancé) matched with a neurosurgery residency program in the Queen City following medical school in Chicago. While Peñuñuri looked for a job in branding, she worked for a short period as a barista at 7th Street Market’s Not Just Coffee.
“I learned a great appreciation for the role of the barista in the coffee experience and what goes into making a coffee drink,” she shares.
But she wanted more.
“After years of enjoying coffee and writing about it, I came to realize that I was really interested in the bigger picture of coffee like the sourcing and the buying,” she says. “So, I blindly reached out to Nordic Approach.”