SCA Chapter Spotlight: Korea

SCA Chapter Spotlight: Korea

The SCA is a global community comprised of local communities who all share the belief that coffee is more than a commodity. We come together to develop and exchange knowledge, expand our network, share our experiences, and to simply make coffee better.

Once a community of like-minded individuals has come together in a location, there’s an option to explore the founding of a more formal structure: an SCA Chapter. These are communities led by an elected committee of passionate volunteers that represent SCA activities in a specific country or regional territory. SCA Chapters are responsible for engaging the community in their local region by delivering education, events, research, and other engagement opportunities.

In this month’s SCA Chapter Spotlight, we caught up with May Kim, Communications Coordinator for SCA in Korea, and Cera Jung, SCA Korea Branch Manager, to talk about the SCA Korea Chapter.

Can you give us some background information on the coffee culture in Korea?

To provide better value and service to Korean members and the local community, the SCA Korea Chapter was founded in 2018 as the first chapter and branch office in Asia.

This Chapter is comprised of 3 committees: education, community events, and competition. Each committee expands its roles and capabilities by bringing coffee people together and enhancing access to knowledge, networks, and various events. 

As one of the countries with the largest number of ASTs, the SCA Korea Education committee is focusing on supporting ASTs and learners as well as updating training materials and holding AST meetings and calibrations on a regular basis. 

SCA Korea is also the WCE competition body of South Korea. We have been holding 6 National Championships – including the Korea Coffee Roasting Championship (KCRC), Korea Barista Championship (KNBC), Korea Brewers Cup (KBrC), Korea Latte Art Championship (KLAC), Korea Coffee In Good Spirits (KCIGS), and Korea Cup Tasters Championship (KCTC) – and the winners of the championships have consistently shown a great result at the World Coffee Championships. Last year, Jooyeon Jeon (pictured below) of Momos Coffee in South Korea crowned the 2019 World Barista Champion.

What does it mean to you, individually, to be a part of SCA Korea?

Before the SCA Korea was established, there was a limited window for us to communicate with the global coffee community and the SCA offices. It’s an honor to be involved in the SCA Korea Chapter, helping the coffee communities to talk to each other and building a bridge. 

“Think of a tour guide when you travel to foreign countries,” said Cera Jung, Korea Branch Manger. “It is perfectly fine to navigate by yourself with no help, however, when you have a guide beside you, there’s much more you can see and feel and experience. We’re trying to be the best tour guide for every coffee enthusiast and helping to create the best coffee experience.”

“As the specialty coffee industry in Korea has developed rapidly, still we are trying to build a local coffee community in our way,” said Ki ll Anthony Kim, SCA Korea Chapter Committee of Community Events. “I am happy to be a part of SCA Korea that value in local specialty coffee community and the culture.”

SCA Korea Chapter Committee of Education, Dylan Young-Min Choo, said, “To be a part of SCA Korea is to be connected with coffee people. SCA Korea is a platform of ‘People, Communication and Relationship’ by making various events and opportunities. “

What are the annual highlights for the SCA Korea Community?

This year, to standardize the SCA Education program in high quality, we will hold AST Calibration for each of the 5 modules: Barista Skills (held earlier this month with nearly 200 ASTs in attendance, led by Benjamin Townsend, Barista Skills Lead Content Creator of SCA Education), Brewing, Roasting, Sensory Skills, and Green Coffee. These calibration events will be lead by the Content Creators of SCA Education.

Also, we will have our 6 National Championships held in conjunction with local community events which will bring people together, achieving our goal of ‘Community for Community.’

What’s next for the SCA Korea Chapter?

There’s a lot to do to support the community here in Korea. We’re trying to classify each activity into relative characteristics including community building, competitions, and education. 

This year we’re focusing on standardizing the education in high value, and the AST Calibration was one of them. At the same time, we strive to share our goals with the community by holding fun activities. Still, it is surprising that there are many people who have never heard about the specialty coffee market. We’re trying to focus on finding ways to reach out to those people.

Follow along with SCA Korea on Facebook and Instagram and learn more about the chapter on their website.