Annual Recognition Awards

Nomination & Selection Process

The call for nominations for the upcoming year opens in October of the previous year. Any SCA member in good standing may nominate a member of the coffee community to be considered for selection by filling out and submitting one of the forms linked below. Once the nomination phase closes on January 1st, the nominations are submitted to the SCA Awards committee for review. The vetting and selection process continues through the end of January; awardees are notified on or before February 5th.


Categories & Nomination Forms

Lifetime Achievement Award 

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes and promotes individuals who have established a career focused on excellence in providing through precept and example: inspiration, direction, and leadership. This award is presented to one whose positive influence transcends the limits of 'Company' and 'Profit' per se, and whose work inspires others to contribute their best efforts toward attaining the 'Specialty Coffee Ideal' of providing all American consumers with the finest cup of coffee in the world. These contributions may include but are not limited to innovation, new knowledge, charitable contributions, mentorship or ways to improve the industry as a whole. Importantly, the contributions should be above and beyond the everyday and have had a long lasting impact in the industry.

Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Erna Knutsen - Orlando 1991

Alfred Peet Seattle 1992

David Schapira Houston 1994

George Howell Minneapolis 1996

Dr. Ernesto Illy New Orleans 1997

Pete McLaughlin Denver 1998

Gerry Baldwin San Francisco 2000

Keble Munn Miami 2001

Bill Fishbein Anaheim 2002

Mary Williams Boston 2003

Michael Sivetz Atlanta 2004

Carl Diedrich Sr., Martin Diedrich & Stephan Diedrich Seattle 2005

Don Schoenholt Long Beach 2007

Paul Katzeff Minneapolis 2008

Ted Lingle Atlanta 2009

William Hempstead Houston 2011

Dan Cox Portland 2012

Ricardo Espitia Boston 2013

Robert Stiller Seattle 2014

William McAlpin Seattle 2015

Leonor Gavina-Valls Atlanta 2016


Outstanding Contribution to the Association Award

The Outstanding Contribution to the Association Award is an individual award in recognition of a person's outstanding contributions that advanced the SCA as an organization. These contributions may include but are not limited to innovation, new knowledge, research, leadership through challenging times, staff mentorship or ways to advance the SCA as a whole. Importantly, the contributions should be above and beyond the everyday and have had a long lasting impact on the Association.

Outstanding Contribution to the Association Winners

Founders: Phyllis Baldenhofer, Paul Katzeff, Ted Lingle, 
Pete McLaughlin, Gary Talboy, Larry Karper, 
John Rapinchuk, John Randell, & Don SchoenholtOrlando 1991

Dan Cox Boston 1993

Leonor Gavina-Valls Houston 1994

Linda Smithers Long Beach 1995

Phil Jones Minneapolis 1996

Phyllis Jordan New Orleans 1997

Carl Staub Denver 1998

Kathy Owen Philadelphia 1999

Ellen Jordan Reidy San Francisco 2000

Jane Phillips McCabe Miami 2001

Robert M. Lockwood Miami 2001

Victor Alan Mondry Anaheim 2002

David Dallis Boston 2003

Jamie Utendorf-Hagen Atlanta 2004

Paul Songer Seattle 2005

Doug Zell Charlotte 2006

Becky McKinnon Long Beach 2007

David Griswold Minneapolis 2008

Rick Peyser Atlanta 2009

Gale Lingle Anaheim 2010

Melissa Pugash Houston 2011

Karl Schmidt Boston 2013

Spencer Turer Seattle 2015

Paul Thornton Atlanta 2016


Distinguished Author or Publisher Award

The Distinguished Author or Publisher Award is an award in recognition of a person's or a publication's outstanding contributions to the specialty coffee industry by broadcasting the understanding of the specialty coffee ideal among the coffee trade and/or public. Its purpose is to give formal recognition, on behalf of the SCA community, to internationally acclaimed authors and publishers who have written a distinguished body of work and made a major contribution to the field of specialty coffee.

Distinguished Author or Publisher Award Winners

Kenneth Davids Minneapolis 1996

Shea Sturdivant New Orleans 1997

Bruce Milletto Philadelphia 1999

Laura Gorman San Francisco 2000

Ian Bersten Miami 2001

Mark Pendergrast Anaheim 2002

Timothy J. Castle Boston 2003

Maja Wallengren Atlanta 2004

Ward Barbee Seattle 2005

Daniele Giovannucci Long Beach 2007

Connie Blumhardt Minneapolis 2008

Kerri Goodman Small Atlanta 2009

Miles Small Atlanta 2009

Donald Schoenholt Anaheim 2010

Thompson Owen Houston 2011

David Schomer Portland 2012

Zachary Carlsen & Jordan Michelman Boston 2013

Oliver Strand Seattle 2015

Scott Rao Atlanta 2016


Special Recognition Award

The Special Recognition Award is an individual award in recognition of a person's special contribution of self to the SCA. These contributions may include but are not limited to dedication of time, volunteerism, contributions of professional skill, exemplary work on a specific SCA project, or other notable contribution of self. Importantly, the contributions should be above and beyond the everyday and have had a long lasting impact on the Association.

Specialty Recognition Award Winners

Marvin Golden Boston 1993

Ted Lingle Long Beach 1995

Melissa Pugash Minneapolis 1996

James Glang New Orleans 1997

John Rapinchuk Philadelphia 1999

Douglas Carpenter San Francisco 2000

Don Holly Miami 2001

Karalynn McDermott Boston 2003

Jeremy Woods Atlanta 2004

Martin I. Elkin Atlanta 2004

John Sanders Seattle 2005

Jeff Vojta Long Beach 2007

Dr. Ernesto Illy Minneapolis 2008

Jeanne Sleeper Atlanta 2009

Mick Wheeler Anaheim 2010

The Specialty Coffee Industry of the City of New Orleans Houston 2011

Dan Streetman Boston 2013

Joe Marrocco Seattle 2015

Tracy Ging Atlanta 2016

The SCAA First Responders Portland 2012


Alfred Peet Passionate Cup Award

Alfred Peet, founder of Peet's coffee, is remembered as the "father of specialty coffee". Of course there were many mothers and fathers, parents of specialty coffee, but Alfred was known for his unique focus and advocacy of what we were doing. Described as the "Leader of a coffee revolution" by the New York Times, Alfred Peet was credited with inspiring a generation of coffee professionals and "pioneering America's love of high-end coffee". Near the end of his life, an SCA award was established in his honor with the following description:

The Alfred Peet Passionate Cup Award is an individual award in recognition of a person whose commitment to coffee is representative of a general passion for life and who has demonstrated a consistent record of driving progress through passion.

Alfred Peet Passionate Cup Award Winners

Piero Bambi Boston 2013

Carlo Di Ruocco Seattle 2015

Alfred Peet Minneapolis 2008

Sunalini Menon Seattle 2014

Jim Reynolds Atlanta 2016


Distinguished Newcomer Award

The Distinguished Newcomer Award is an individual award in recognition of a coffee professional of 5 or less years whose significant contributions have made an impact, change of course, significant insight or added value within the coffee industry.

Distinguished Newcomer Award Winners

David Belanich Seattle 2015

Hanna Neuschwander Atlanta 2016