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THE FIRST PRIORITY With interest and demand for speciality coffee steadily on the rise, the importance of an education in coffee has never been so high, says Susan Hollins, education manager, at the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE).

Learning the art of tasting and other key product assessment skills will result in better quality in the cup

The SCAE’s Coffee Diploma delivers credibility

Many people are involved in the process from bean-to-cup with each of them tirelessly utilising their passion, enthusiasm and expertise at every stage throughout the process to ensure the best possible cup of coffee for the consumer to enjoy. The wealth of knowledge and the skills used by the industry experts is in abundance, but they didn’t get there by accident. Some learnt from experience on the job, while the majority sought a professional qualification to help them achieve their career goal and in each of those cases it was a worthwhile investment. Learning the art of growing, tasting, roasting, brewing and serving a premium cup of coffee will inevitably result in better quality in the cup, making for a satisfied consumer and hopefully a repeat sale in the future. With literally hundreds of institutions in Europe offering an education in coffee, accessibility has played a major role in creating more talented people working in the industry. The Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) wanted to take this one step further by not only making its Coffee Diploma System easily accessible all over Europe, but by also making the course curriculum consistent as well. The result is that the Coffee Diploma System carries with it a certain amount of reputation and credibility that is becoming more and more widely recognised among coffee business across Europe and Asia. In fact, you need only look at the

World Coffee Championships to note just how highly contested the competitions are and how good the competitors are at what they do. Training and education play a major role in their performance on stage, as much as when they’re back at the office. It’s no secret - the speciality coffee industry is full of well-educated and highly qualified people doing the work they’re most passionate about and

the way they maintain that level of professionalism is through constant education and training, always looking to further their knowledge, skills and techniques. In addition to accessibility and consistency, a good education curriculum has to be inclusive to people of all different levels of ability, whether just starting out with nothing more than passion and enthusiasm, or whether a seasoned professional looking to master key skills. SCAE’s Coffee Diploma System operates on three tiers for this exact purpose, meaning you can pick the content that’s right for you, whether it’s foundation, intermediate or professional and you can progress through the stages applying what you’ve already learnt in the process. Being inclusive doesn’t have to stop with the professional

side either. Thousands of coffee lovers attend SCAE’s Coffee Diploma courses every year for no reason other than to learn more about the subjects that interest them. Couple this with what they learn from enjoying a quality cup of coffee in their favourite coffee shop and it makes for an interesting mix of knowledge and experience. Baristas do a great job of this already, sharing the story of the beans, the passion for their craft and drawing the consumer into the exciting world of speciality coffee. It’s through sharing that knowledge and inspiring others with their passion and enthusiasm that will ensure the speciality coffee industry continues to grow and to include more and more consumers as their experience increases too. So what better way to further develop an already thriving industry than with more and more education? An education for the professionals so they can keep learning, improving and updating their techniques and an education for the consumer so they can better understand what they like and most importantly what they can expect from a speciality cup of coffee.

More information: Speciality Coffee Association of Europe +44 (0)1245 426060,

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