Specialty Coffee Association of America Announces Coffee Taster Certificate Program

Newest educational track to focus on sensory analysis from a broad perspective

The Specialty Coffee Association of America has announced the addition of a Coffee Taster Certificate Program (CTC) to its internationally recognized professional development curriculum.

Slated to officially launch at the 2013 SCAA Event, to be held April 11-14, 2013 in Boston, MA, the Coffee Taster Certificate Program will provide comprehensive education and training that will encapsulate the entire scope of sensory analysis including green coffee, production roast tasting and espresso tasting. This program has been designed to not only complement Coffee Quality Institute’s (CQI) Q Grader Program, which licenses Q Graders to grade green coffee and signifies an independent confirmation of specialty quality coffee, but also allow for an expanded understanding and level of expertise for all coffee professionals focused on product quality and tasting assurance. David Roche, CQI’s Executive Director comments “CQI’s international Q Graders help coffee sectors locate specialty coffees at origin and improve coffees that have the potential to meet specialty standards. The effect is a common language between buyers and sellers that draws attention to specialty coffees while creating an infrastructure that provides producers greater opportunities to enter the marketplace and to increase their economic viability. SCAA’s new CTC program complements our objective to provides comprehensive professional development for coffee professionals.”

In November of 2012 the SCAA conducted an electronic Tasting Analysis Job Survey. The survey results largely confirmed the need for the development of this certificate program. More than 87% of the respondents declared that they perform an official cupping or taste test weekly, 64% of them daily. Of a list of 29 sensory analyst tasks, all of them were considered important or critical by more than 50% of those surveyed. The top five tasks were considered critical or important by more than 90% of the respondents. Based on this feedback, the SCAA created the CTC program to provide additional pathways for sensory education and strengthen the industry as a whole by supporting the pivotal profession of Coffee Taster. This program is another facet of the SCAA’s multi-disciplined approach to supporting the supply chain, products and processes that make up the specialty coffee industry.

Many current SCAA students already inside of the SCAA certificate curriculum, including those who have achieved licensed Q grader status through CQI, will discover that they may have already completed many of the required courses towards achieving this new certificate. “The launch of this Certificate is a natural progression of the SCAA Professional Development suite” states SCAA Director of Professional Development Ellie Hudson-Matuszak. “Our certificates are built around training coffee professionals for the on-the-job environment in order to contribute to business success. By pursuing and earning this certificate, coffee professionals demonstrate competence in specific knowledge and skills that are valuable to employers when looking to fill positions or promote existing employees.”

Testing for certificate candidates will commence in March 2013. For more information about this and all SCAA professional development programs, visit www.scaa.org.

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