Name: Wendy De Jong
Title: Coffee Buyer/Education Director
Company: Single Origin Roasters, Tony’s Coffees & Teas
How long have you been volunteering for the SCAA?
What was the first SCAA event you volunteered for and what were your duties?
I was recruited by Andi Trindle to be on the Espresso Education committee. At that time we were very concerned with the wording of the exact definition of espresso, and creating guided note taking workbooks for the espresso classes, and doing our best to make sure that people who took the espresso classes were better baristas when they got home.
What is your current volunteer role and what are your other duties in Portland 2012?
I am wrapping up my 6-year joy ride serving on the Roasters Guild Executive Council, as the current Past-Chairperson. I currently serve on the SCAA Professional Development Committee, and CQI Advisory Board, and Coffee Corps volunteer.
This year in Portland I am very excited to be teaching one of my favorite classes again – Defect Cupping- this is a very fun and informative class that definitely leaves a lasting impression. It’s the shock and awe intro to defects. You’ll be scarred for life, or that’s the hope anyway…
Describe your most memorable volunteering experience so far?
I have to admit I have fond memories of wiping out the glass cups. To me that was always a nice quiet beginning to the event. People would come and go, say their hellos, wipe out a few trays of cups, and then head off to other duties.
But more recently, I have been really excited to be a part of some amazing things that we have been able to deliver to Roasters Guild members. I was able to organize and lead some great RG Origin Trips, and have a part in making the COTY and Roasters Choice competitions an internationally recognized level of success.
My fondest volunteer memories have definitely been with Coffee Corps. Spending a full week with students who are totally committed to learning about coffee quality in order to have a future in the coffee industry is very, very inspiring.
How has volunteering for the SCAA influenced your coffee career?
It has really made me value all that goes on behind the scenes, and the people who make it happen. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with some very dedicated and clever people, who are always pushing for the next level of excellence, and they are also the kind of people who just put their head down and get to work. It’s good to be around people like that, especially on days when you may be having a bit of burnout. I’ve also made some really good friends.
Volunteering for the SCAA has given me the opportunity over the years to see how the efforts of a lot of people working together for a common goal has really moved this industry forward in a measurable way. Producers cup their coffees, Baristas cup their coffees, delivery folks even cup coffee when they get back to the roastery, and we can all talk about the things we are experiencing with something approaching a common language. It’s inspiring! I watched that happen over the last 10 years, and feel like I was able to contribute in some small way through the many volunteer opportunities I was exposed to with the SCAA. That’s a great feeling.