SCAA Offers Education and Certificate Program Opportunities


By Mya Stark

Maybe you have been thinking of getting certified, or even taken a few credits toward earning your certificate before the busyness of everyday life overtook you. Well, The Event is the perfect time to start down that path, or get back on track.

Recently, SCAA published the findings of its first-ever Wages and Compensation Survey. The results of professional development are in, and they are striking: the data shows that a certified coffee professional can expect to earn $150,000 more than one without certification.

SCAA has applied this information in modifying its approach to its education program. New “Pathways” to certification chart a dynamic and developmental way forward to professional knowledge. In addition to the returning Barista and Roaster certificate programs, Coffee Buyers now have their own Pathway, and Coffee Taster education has been revised. While Pathway courses are offered across four continents, the Event remains the largest single opportunity for professionals to advance and cultivate their knowledge, together, under one roof.

Here’s what your Pathway can do for you no matter where you fall on the supply chain:

Coffee Buyer Pathway

The newest pathway starts from Seed to Cup, which you can complete via eLearning or by going on an Origin Trip. This journey will give you a firm grounding not only in market dynamics and the logistics of purchasing, but also in Customer Service, Cupping, and Brewing. Participants will gain a solid understanding of how to purchase coffee effectively and strategically, whether for customers or as a roaster buyer for your own business.

Coffee Taster Pathway

Certification is particularly important in sensory analysis; this super-subjective art upon which our industry is founded must have a common language and common principles in order to function. Level 1 focuses on the senses, such as aroma, and in precisely distinguishing coffees from specific regions in Comparative Cupping courses. Level 2 finds the coffee taster gaining proven expertise in all the many terroirs of coffee, and the all-important Flavor Wheel. This pathway is designed to complement Q Grader certification.

Roaster Pathway

The two-level Roaster Pathway is the gold standard for demonstrating and deepening knowledge of the roaster’s craft. In addition to detailed focus on all aspects of buying, tasting, roasting, and running a roastery from a safety and business point of view, participants are encouraged to Dig Deeper into topics like Coffee Farming and Espresso Fundamentals.

Barista Pathway

A pivotal step in giving the barista profession its due, this pathway certifies the knowledge and practiced skill of a top-tier barista. Upon completing Level 2, the participant will not only have honed their Brewing and Extraction Principles and Espresso and Milk Steaming Fundamentals, but will have added value with a new understanding of Espresso Bar Efficiency and Workflow, and Espresso Machine Preventative Maintenance. In addition, Event attendees can also earn credit toward Golden Cup Technician, Lab Inspector, and Lead Instructor certifications. Certification isn’t just an investment in your personal quest for excellence—it’s an investment that will pay you back throughout your career. Don’t miss out.

Mya Stark is a journalist who has worked with SCAA for the past two years and loves coffee people even more than she loves coffee.