Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 22 of 107

PHOTO BY REETA ASMAI/UC DAVIS BUILDING A BRIDGE FROM ITALY TO FORT WAYNE, INDIANA: THE LA MARZOCCO + MODBAR MASHUP FOR SEVERAL EMPLOYEES at espresso-machine manufacturer La Marzocco and coffee-equipment company Modbar, much of 2017 was experienced in airplanes. It's not that the two companies' staffs caught the travel bug last year. Rather, these journeys were made in the name of product development, as the Scarperia, Italy–based La Marzocco factory and the Fort Wayne, Ind.–based Modbar collaborated to develop the brand-new Modbar Espresso AV, which debuted at the 2018 Global Specialty Coffee Expo in April. The espresso machine marks the fi rst-ever product collaboration between Modbar and La Marzocco. Of course, the two high-end equipment manufacturers were far from strangers to each other before the teamwork began: La Marzocco owns a majority interest in Modbar; the companies are separate, but they partner in many ways. Since 2016, La Marzocco's branch offi ces outside the United States have been distributing Modbar to their customers, and on May 1, La Marzocco USA became the sole distribu- tor of Modbar in the United States. Though the companies were closely tied, originally there were no plans to develop a product together. In much of 2015 and 2016, a team from La Marzocco was working with Modbar's under-the-counter espresso machine, using La Marzocco's resources to make Modbar's product as reliable and high-quality as possible. Scott Guglielmino, product manager at La Marzocco, says it was during this process that the idea to create something new came about. "Modbar has a great The Modbar AV installed at Lo y Coff ee in San Diego, Calif. "We were able to marry the companies in this great way," says La Marzocco's Sco Guglielmino of the partnership between Modbar and La Marzocco—which owns a majority interest in Modbar—to produce the AV. "Neither one of us could have produced this machine on our own." ing and expanding its pool of judges: ACE hosted a two-day head- judge calibration earlier this year taught by industry veteran and longtime CoE head judge Paul Songer, which will become an annual event. ACE also added two new Cup of Excellence head judges in 2018: Eleane Mierisch from Fincas Mierisch in Nicaragua and John Moore from Volcafe. Darrin says another focus of his since taking over has been re- vamping the training and education arm of ACE. The organization previously offered training courses under the name Cupper Camp, but suspended those classes in 2017. ACE relaunched its educational cur- riculum in 2018 with the new moniker Sensory Educational Training (SET) and debuted it in Indonesia earlier this year, with plans to soon take the courses to a range of producing and consuming countries. "The structure is similar to a mock-CoE: It's basically four days of cupping and calibration using the CoE cupping form," says Darrin. "But rather than being focused on one country, we provide coffees from all over the globe, processed different ways, to provide a full representation of what's out there in the coffee world." Darrin says ACE is planning more SET courses for later this year, with tentative destinations including China and Mexico. While Indonesia was the site for the fi rst SET course, it's also the likely next country to which Cup of Excellence will expand. Darrin says ACE hopes to produce a pilot in January 2019 that will lead to hosting its fi rst CoE in Indonesia—which will also be the competition's fi rst foray into Asia. "We feel like it would complete the coffee map for us in terms of major growing areas in the world," Darrin says. He adds that CoE is likely to grow to even more countries, noting Asian and African nations as likely destinations. "That's part of the plan for the future," Darrin says. "In the next fi ve years, I want to see us adding additional countries." LOOKING AHEAD With the CoE competitions and ACE's educational program on steady footing, Darrin says ACE is concentrating on growing its membership and recruiting more roasters to become involved in CoE. An addition- al emphasis is improving logistics, which is a fairly complicated matter when you consider that roasters buying CoE are scattered across the world, with most purchases coming from throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States. "We're working on improving deliverables for members," Darrin says, "so we get coffee in people's hands faster after the auction." An enduring focus of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence is to help farmers earn top dollar for their coffee so that production is, for them, a sustainable livelihood. Coffee-growing is an increasingly diffi cult occupation for farmers because of intensifying and unprecedented threats from climate change. Susie Spindler, who now serves as a part-time consulting advisor to ACE, says the moves the organization has made in the last couple of years will benefi t farmers. "The focus on bringing in an executive director [Darrin] and the CoE managing staff who understand the trials facing both farmers and buyers will help ensure that CoE will continue to discover unknown qualities, set the highest quality standards, and most importantly push transparency and reward to farmers who may otherwise be left out," she says. Darrin says that as the CoE program works with more farmers and moves into additional countries, it will allow farmers who've succeed- ed in the competition to pollinate knowledge in their communities, helping to strengthen the coffee-growing sector as more farmers earn premiums for their quality coffee and access the international market. "The competition and the awards are great, but the real impact is everything that happens after it," Darrin says. "And where producers fi nd new avenues and new channels, that's where our real mission is." —Chris Ryan 23

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