Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 17 of 107

F O A M : N E W S CUP OF EXCELLENCE FOR BARISTAS IF YOU'RE IN YOUR CUPS in coffee, you know all about the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) and its celebrated program, Cup of Excellence (COE). Founded by George Howell and Susie Spindler in 1999, the Cup of Excellence competition and auction program was designed as a platform for coffee pro- ducers to showcase their coffees to international cup- pers in an effort to secure the highest possible prices for the coffees in an online sale. Few programs in the specialty-coffee industry have been as successful as COE, under ACE—which was formed to govern the competitions in 2002: Producers in Central and South America, as well as East Africa, have seen record amounts paid for their coffees. COE was the first to put coffee farmers in center stage, to honor their work with fair prices, and to put a face to some of the best coffees in the world. The nonprofit organization is known for breaking down walls between farmers and green buyers; remember, COE was around long before direct trade existed, and is in large part responsible for the transparency we enjoy in the industry today. Specialty roasters are intimately involved with ACE on an annual basis, when they excitedly receive the top samples from the latest COE events. What of the barista though? Surely there is a role for the barista, since, regardless of the green buyer and roaster's involvement, she is the one tasked with endorsing and selling these special coffees to café customers. Introducing the Barista/Individual Membership program from ACE. With the understanding that empowering baristas with COE information and involvement is important, this program was designed specifically for the people charged with making sure the coffees so meticulously grown, cupped, and roast- ed, are appreciated by customers. "This membership is for baristas who are pursuing excellence inside and outside the coffeehouse," says Anna Abatzoglou, ACE's membership and market- ing manager. "As a member, you are not only an offi- cial supporter of the Cup of Excellence program, but you are part of the mission to discover and support exemplary coffees worldwide." While the Barista/Individual Membership pro- gram is still brand new in the United States, it has already been embraced and celebrated in a big way in other countries known for their outstand- ing coffee culture. Perhaps the highest concentra- tion of COE Barista/Individual Members exists at Kaffebrenneriet in Oslo, Norway, where all things COE have been incorporated into the company since At top: Oslo, Norway's Kaffebrenneriet cafés not only host activities including public tastings to promote Cup of Excellence–winning coffee offerings, but its owners encourage the barista staff to join the Alliance for Coffee Excellence as a Barista Member, as well. Kaffebrenneriet baristas are so enthusiastic about being members of ACE and Cup of Excellence that they even meet as a club regularly for cuppings and discussion. Below: A membership card is only one part of the package that ACE provides Barista Members. They also receive either green or roasted coffee from a winning producer, newsleers, access to exclusive cuppings and meetings, and more. 18 barista magazine B o o k 1 - 4 4 . i n d d 1 8 Book 1-44.indd 18 3 / 1 9 / 1 4 9 : 5 1 P M 3/19/14 9:51 PM

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