Thursday, August 23rd

Pre-Event Coffee Skills Program (Optional Addition)

Full Day Foundation Level Courses: Roasting Foundations and Sensory Foundations View Pricing & Options Here

Class Descriptions:

Sensory Skills Foundation

Designed to introduce core sensory skills to people with no previous coffee tasting experience. The course will expose and sensitize a student on the notion of specialty versus non-specialty coffee. Enabling the student to recognize the core concepts of sensory analysis, and explain why and how coffee professionals use it in the coffee industry. Broad focus will be put on identifying, describing, and discriminating aroma, taste and body in coffees objectively. Students will be introduced to the SCA cupping protocol and methodology and reflect on the qualitative dimension of this evaluation methodology.

Lead Instructor, Brittany Horn – Pacific Coffee Research

Roasting Foundation

Designed to introduce core roasting skills and equipment to people with no previous roasting experience. This course will give you a fundamental understanding of the roasting process and the key determining factors in heating control, the roast cycle, process logging and how to control basic sensory aspects of the coffee by roasting light or dark. During this unique opportunity. Participants will get roasting time on up to three different brands of coffee roasters.

Lead Instructor, Don Cox – The Coffee Roasting Institute, Blue Ridge Campus

Friday, August 24th

Retreat attendees will be assigned a pre-determined rotation schedule based on their roasting challenge team and will attend lectures given on cutting-edge industry topics.

All Rotations Will Include:

The Danger of a Single Origin Story - Vava Angwenyi, hosted by Andi Trindle Mersch

Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. Our lives and our cultures are composed of many overlapping stories.

Coffee producers have many difficulties and face significant obstacles at origin; engaging deeply with their shared, but also very unique, stories amplifies their voices and leads to better solutions. Vava brings insight to the conversation through her experiences and research on social impact in coffee growing regions in Kenya, Tanzania and Colombia. Through engagement in the stories of many producers, Vava is uniquely positioned to highlight various stories at origin, examining their perspectives of the realities on the ground, and exploring how we can bring change by taking a different approach to what we have not heard - a “balance of stories.”

Coffee Tasting Different? There Could Be Something in the Water - Brady Butler

Since brewed coffee is more than 98% water, the chemistry of that water can have a dramatic impact on cup quality. In this session we’ll taste several brewed coffees which demonstrate this. We'll then measure some key characteristics of the brewing waters we used and use the SCA Water Chart to show the connection between those measurements and sensory observations. This course is ideal for all coffee professionals and enthusiasts. No chemistry degree or prior brewing, roasting, or tasting experience required.

Team Challenge Free Time

Afternoon Session:

Leading with Integrity: How to Check Your Bias and Make Better Decisions - Katie Booser

In this session, we will explore how implicit bias impacts everyone, both inside and outside of the coffee industry. Every human brain is affected by subconscious attitudes that inform the way we choose and interact with suppliers, customers and employees. When left unchecked, these can rob your business of opportunities for improved employee retention, increased profitability and social impact. They can also open your organization to more risk. In order to take control of these biases, we need to learn to how to identify the triggers. Participants will join in exercises to explore the existence of these biases and how they manifest themselves. We will also discuss how leaders can create a system of awareness while completing their duties; such as crafting job descriptions, reviewing employee applications and conducting employee reviews.

Saturday, August 25th

Attendees have their choice of one morning workshop and one afternoon workshop.

Morning Workshops (9am-12pm)

Comprehensive Sample Roasting

Throughout the specialty coffee supply chain, key purchasing decisions are being made based on the evaluation of sample-roasted coffee. These choices have a significant impact on the livelihood of both the seller and the buyer. For proper evaluation, samples must be roasted consistently and cupped with established protocols. In this hands-on workshop, students will learn the critical components of a sample roasting program. These include receiving, tracking and storing samples; logging roast data; and maintaining equipment. Participants will practice sample roasting, using a variety of technologies including both drum and fluid-bed style roasters. NOTE: This workshop includes an online, pre-event lecture to afford more time in practical application. Information regarding this session will be sent to all registrants for the class.

Roasting Style Exploration

The degree and style of a roast has a significant impact on the flavor of coffee. In this hands-on exploratory workshop you will learn how to evaluate coffee over a range from light to dark roasts and decide on an approach to roasting that considers the coffee, the customer, and the business.

Roast Profiling & Theory

This workshop will enable a roaster to better define and apply the practice of profile roasting. Participants will learn common profile terminology, procedures and documentation. After manipulating and recording profiles through hands-on roasting, students will taste and discuss the impact of changes in heat and time through a comparative cupping. Following this workshop, roasters will be able to able explain entry-level roasting theory and implement profiles based on these key fundamentals. NOTE: This workshop includes an online, pre-event lecture to afford more time at the roasters and in the cupping room. Information regarding this session will be sent to all registrants for the class.

The SCA Flavor Wheel Experience

"The SCA Flavor wheel is a tool designed to unify the language around coffee flavor. In this workshop, students will not only learn how the World Coffee Research (WCR) Sensory Lexicon was formed, but will also experience a wide variety of the specific references as presented by WCR. Participants will use these actual items to recognize what attributes might be present in sample coffees. This practice will prepare attendees to align their descriptions with other coffee professionals in the supply chain and standardize the vocabulary in their own operations. NOTE: There will be a pre-workshop, recorded lecture for participants to view to afford more time for the sensory experience.

ALLERGEN Warning: This class requires the tasting of actual foods, including, but not limited to: Nuts, peanuts, wheat and dairy. If you have a known allergy to any of these food products, you are likely to be at risk for an allergen exposure and should probably not attend the workshop. Even if you think you can skip over the allergenic foods, there is a high risk of cross-contact with the allergens, because dozens of people will be in the class, therefore you will be at risk for allergen exposure."

Sustainability Essentials For The Coffee Roasting Professional

For the specialty coffee industry to survive, sustainability must be embraced by all actors in the value chain. As the most visible link between producers and consumers, roasters have enormous potential to promote positive change. This course is designed to offer baseline knowledge of what the term ‘sustainability’ means and how it is connected to development and other projects. Attendees will gain the skills needs to identify key sustainability issues across the supply chain, understand the trade-offs and complexities of different approaches, and make actionable decisions to improve the sustainability of their company.

Roasting Machine Maintenance

Maintenance of your roasting equipment is a vital part of the ongoing success your business. Frequent, knowledgeable and hands-on attention paid to your roaster will result in more consistent air flow and more dependable mechanical operation, ensuring that your machine is never working against you. This class will give both beginning and experienced roaster professionals the tools to evaluate and complete the basic maintenance tasks that are required on their machines. Participants will learn about universal maintenance issues, and also spend time under the hood of several different brand and styles of roasters.

Afternoon Workshops (1:30-4:30pm)

Comprehensive Sample Roasting

Throughout the specialty coffee supply chain, key purchasing decisions are being made based on the evaluation of sample-roasted coffee. These choices have a significant impact on the livelihood of both the seller and the buyer. For proper evaluation, samples must be roasted consistently and cupped with established protocols. In this hands-on workshop, students will learn the critical components of a sample roasting program. These include receiving, tracking and storing samples; logging roast data; and maintaining equipment. Participants will practice sample roasting, using a variety of technologies including both drum and fluid-bed style roasters. NOTE: This workshop includes an online, pre-event lecture to afford more time in practical application. Information regarding this session will be sent to all registrants for the class.

Heat Transfer and the Roasting Machine

This workshop is designed to explore the roasting process and machine with regards to the measurement and control of heat transfer. The presentation and activities focus on defining key terminology and concepts, investigating the nuances of measuring heat energy with thermocouples, and using typical controls on a roasting machine to make it operate in a desired way. This workshop is sure to be a good source of knowledge for any coffee roasting professional.

Roasting Machine Maintenance

Maintenance of your roasting equipment is a vital part of the ongoing success your business. Frequent, knowledgeable and hands-on attention paid to your roaster will result in more consistent air flow and more dependable mechanical operation, ensuring that your machine is never working against you. This class will give both beginning and experienced roaster professionals the tools to evaluate and complete the basic maintenance tasks that are required on their machines. Participants will learn about universal maintenance issues, and also spend time under the hood of several different brand and styles of roasters.

This foundational course will assist coffee roasting professionals in understanding and acting upon the food safety regulations required for small processors. This workshop will briefly cover the history of food safety regulations to add context for the current Food Safety Modernization ACT (FSMA). Participants will become familiar with all of the terminology and acronyms related to food safety, including FDA, FSMA, GMPs, PREREQS, HARPC, HACCP, SQF, GFSI and more. This interactive session will include several group activities, where students will practice completing Good, Average, Poor (GAP) analyses of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), and, most importantly, gain strategies for executive buy-in.

Fundamentals Of Green Coffee Buying

A purposeful green-coffee-buying strategy is key to the success of every coffee roasting business. This workshop will introduce participants to the fundamentals of effective green purchasing. Students will learn standard industry terms for how coffee is bought, traded and transported; setting the stage for successful relationships with green coffee suppliers and logistics providers. Participants will also discuss other key factors in a green-buying program including values statements, forecasting and cash flow management. In addition to an interactive lecture, students will work in small groups with green coffee professionals in a variety of activities

Can You Taste The Roasting System (1-5pm)

This workshop seeks to explore and challenge common thoughts and claims in the roasting community about certain flavors being associated with a particular brand of roasting machine/system. By tasting the same coffee roasted on three different systems and then working in groups to roast one coffee on two different systems with the exact same profile, attendees will be able to explore for themselves the possibility that it is the profile that drives flavor differences not the roasting system. Overall, students will gain a greater understanding of the control points relevant to a roast profile and attain a clearer perspective on coffee roasting and roasting systems.

SCA reserves the right to substitute classes in the event of an unforeseeable circumstance that renders it impossible to produce the class to the quality education standards required by SCA Coffee Skills Program courses and SCA Workshops.