If you are involved in the coffee industry, whether you are a professional roaster, coffee producer, coffee shop owner or barista, you have surely heard of the Specialty Coffee Association, also known as SCA.
This organization is tasked with encouraging the global coffee communities and supporting activities that make coffee a more sustainable activity for all actors in the value chain.
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The Association for Specialty Coffee
The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) is a trade association responsible for developing activities within the global coffee industry.
The aim is to involve all stakeholders so that knowledge about coffee is accessible to everyone.
If you are not in the industry but would like to certify your experience as a cupper or professional barista, you can do so at the SCA.
The same is true if you operate a specialty coffee shop or if you are a coffee producer seeking some type of accreditation.
So, you could say that the SCA acts as an institution in charge of evaluating the quality of coffee in the processes of extraction, sale and preparation of this product.
In addition, the SCA works with individuals or companies from the coffee sector who pay a membership fee, which then makes it possible to offer courses or access new information on the latest knowledge.
For example, if you’re a barista wanting to teach a coffee-making course, SCA accreditation gives you more credibility in the market (and you can charge more money for the course).
Why could an SCA membership help you?
One of the SCA’s goals is to maintain the high-quality standards for specialty coffee.
Being a member of the SCA can help you make contacts, both in your own area and in other parts of the coffee industry.
Other organizations for baristas and coffee entrepreneurs
However, there are other organizations in the coffee universe, some of which also specialize in individual areas of the coffee industry.
Charlotte coffee collective
This US coffee community was founded in 2015 when Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp, Operations Director at Undercurrent Coffee and a barista by trade, started the Facebook group The Charlotte Barista Exchange.
The forum soon grew and was renamed the Charlotte Coffee Collective in early 2017.
Mnatsakanyan-Sapp began coordinating meetings at coffee shops, which evolved into tastings and events, including palate education and roast tours at local companies like HEX Coffee and Summit Coffee. Then, in May 2017, other coffee entrepreneurs joined Mnatsakanyan-Sapp as organizers of a kind of festival for entrepreneurs and coffee lovers, with events like these:
- Barista courses
- Meetings with coffee farmers
- Coffee tasting events
Mnatsakanyan-Sapp says she got the idea to start this community because her town (Charlotte, North Carolina) didn’t have a strong coffee community.
One of the most interesting features of this collective is the fact that many of the academic activities for coffee professionals are free.
The Charlotte Coffee Collective even plans to create a community training lab where members of the coffee community can learn while doing what they love most: drinking coffee.
New Gotham coffee community
The New Gotham Coffee Community, another independent collective formed in 2012, is on a mission to provide small coffee producers in the city of Chicago, United States with relevant information about the coffee industry.
This group of entrepreneurs has been hosting creative coffee events for a decade. Many of these events cater to local baristas or those aspiring to become one.
One of the best-known events is “Latte Art”, where new preparations and recipes for coffee specialties are discussed.
There are also preparatory courses for coffee tasting, as well as technology training and professional fairs in the coffee sector.
I’M NOT A BARISTA and the impact of COVID-19
Covid-19 has threatened many companies in the coffee sector. That’s why a Chinese entrepreneur decided to create “I’M NOT A BARISTA”.
I’M NOT A BARISTA is a nonprofit dedicated to helping coffee roasters and baristas reach their customers throughout most of the pandemic.
The idea was for coffee professionals to teach people how to prepare specialty coffees at home for a small fee.
Micky Wang, creator of I’M NOTA BARISTA, says he wants to save small coffee producers from the current economic crisis.
Wang’s idea was to create the #brewathome social media campaign to help roasters and baristas share their expertise with Deep L lovers around the world.
The campaign then encouraged coffee experts with video tutorials on topics such as B:
- Make coffee at home (be a barista in your own home)
- The science behind coffee
- Introductory courses in tasting coffee from different countries of origin.
The initiative appears to have been very successful, with coffee entrepreneurs from 5 continents taking part in the workshops and training sessions.
Additionally, this initiative has helped coffee entrepreneurs promote their brands. Visit the I’M NOT A BARISTA website for discounts and freebies from entrepreneurs.
Micky Wang says he founded I’M NOT A BARISTA in Hong Kong in late 2019 after years of working in the coffee industry as a marketing manager.
Wang says he often received sponsorship requests from talented baristas whom he couldn’t help due to budget constraints.
So, I’M NOT A BARISTA was born out of a desire to help baristas in need and give them the opportunity to showcase their profession to a global audience.
Today, I’M NOT A BARISTA helps baristas and other coffee entrepreneurs raise funds by selling I’M NOT A BARISTA apparel.