The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCA) is hard at work supporting the development of a new comprehensive training program for coffee technicians. Potentially the first long term plan to standardize the training of commercial coffee equipment technicians.
The initial public step for the SCA in this endeavour was the inaugural Coffee Technicians Guild meeting at Expo in April of 2016. During which Shad Baiz, a technician of 17 years, led us through the goals of the new guild. I’ll loosely quote an interesting tidbit he had to say about being a coffee tech.
“Let’s compare what we as coffee equipment technicians do in the field to other commercial equipment repair specialists. If a restaurant oven breaks down, the restaurant would contact a repair company, someone would arrive, fix the problem and leave. Whereas a coffee equipment technician would need to complete the repair, explain thoroughly to the customer what happened and coach them on how to prevent the issue in the future, create a hand-crafted souffle, then present it to the customer to taste to prove the oven is capable of preparing a quality product.”
In other words what we do it is multifaceted and different from any other equipment repair industry. During the meeting there was an abundance of support by other industry leaders independently yet seemingly in unison, each speaking of the importance of relationships in the development and growth of the industry, inciting the importance of bringing people together for this important new guild. Much like the SCA’s other guilds, the primary purpose is to bring a community of people in the industry together to create an open platform for dialogue and information sharing.
The next phase was said to be the development of the Coffee Technicans Guild education program. One of the first key development meetings was the 2016 CTG inaugural summit in November, soon followed by the 2017 Summer summit where technicians were taken through a new coffee course by the SCA.
The SCA is revered as the main international standards organization of the specialty coffee industry. Their investment in the development of science and education as well humanitarian efforts in specialty coffee sets them apart from any other entity. Making the educational programs they offer a valued and respected credential.
Currently four Pathways are available to pursue through the SCA including the Barista Pathway, Roaster Pathway, Coffee Buyer Pathway, and Coffee Taster Pathway. While many of the existing Pathways do involve a good bit of technical knowledge on the science of coffee, none of the courses are currently geared to teach advanced electrical, plumbing or mechanical comprehension on equipment, making this particular Pathway Program - ideally - one of the most advanced curriculums.
We wonder will these classes truly be cohesive? Will a person upon completing the proposed Coffee Technician’s Guild courses be well versed in all the necessary aspects of repair and maintenance, as well as safety? SCA, in the past, has proved its relevancy in the industry. I sincerely hope this potential program upholds that same integrity. If it does not or cannot because industry leaders do not get behind this project, it will be a great disappointment to many people.
However if this program truly becomes the new standard and it can stand alone as the platform of an educated coffee equipment technician I think it will quickly become one of the most valued credentials to achieve by the SCA in a global industry starved for qualified technicians.
We believe in this project so much that our owner Rebecca McNelly has throw herself full fledged into the program. She has now been nominated among 11 other highly regarded individuals in the global coffee industry to be on the on the world's first official Coffee Technician's Guild Executive Council, among members from Australia, UK, Ireland, Italy, and the United States! Heartland Tech is a proud member of the Coffee Technicians Guild and we're excited to take you with us on this journey through the revolution of coffee equipment repair.