Introducing the New Coffee Skills Program
Knowledge for Every Stage of Your Career
The SCA is proud to introduce its new unified education program. This program consists of education in the following specialties within the coffee industry:
Introduction to Coffee
Together these modules of learning are known as the SCA Coffee Skills Program. Students can take advantage of learning through three stages of knowledge and skills in each module: Foundation, Intermediate and Professional.
The Coffee Skills Program is the result of more than a year’s worth of collaborative work between professionals from both the American and European specialty coffee communities — involving passionate volunteers from the heritage SCAA’s Pathway Committees and the heritage SCAE's European Coffee Diploma System Creator groups.
Modules and Levels
The Coffee Skills Program consists of six different modules: Introduction to Coffee, which is available at one level, and five specialist modules; Barista Skills, Brewing, Green Coffee, Roasting and Sensory Skills,
Each of the specialist modules is available at three different levels, with points attached at every stage. You may choose the modules that fit your interests and needs. Once you have achieved 100 points, you will be awarded the SCA Coffee Skills Diploma.
Introduction to Coffee: 10 Points
Learn about coffee’s journey from its origins in Ethiopia to the major commodity it is today. From growing the cherries through grading, roasting, and brewing, this module provides an overview of the coffee value chain.
Barista Skills Module
Learn the practical skills you need behind the espresso bar: learn how to set your grinder, milk techniques and latte art, health and safety, customer service, and basic business practices.
Learn about the variety of methods for brewing coffee and the brewing variables that affect quality. The Brewing module provides hands-on learning on grind profiles, brewing methods, measuring coffee strength and charting a coffee’s extraction.
Green Coffee Module
Learn about the key concepts surrounding green coffee: production, processing, grading, shipping, storage, arrival at destination, as well as coffee contracts and portfolio management.
Learn about the roasting process, including roast cycle, roast levels, identifying defects, the physical changes that beans undergo during the roasting process, as well as workspace management and lean production.
Sensory Skills Module
Learn about the essentials of sensory evaluation in a practical and interactive manner. Sensory Skills investigates the way we perceive what we taste, how to evaluate coffee’s natural characteristics, and implementing this knowledge in business.
Foundation Level: 5 Points
The Foundation level provides a first taste of a specific coffee discipline and is a great way to get insight into a module to help you decide if you want to go on to learn more. The Foundation level requires no previous experience. Courses at this level usually take 1 day.
Intermediate Level: 10 Points
The Intermediate level is suitable if you are already part of the industry, working in the field covered by the module, and have a firm knowledge of the basic skills. Experience working in the field is recommended for this level. Courses at the Intermediate level usually take a minimum of 2 days.
Professional Level: 25 Points
The Professional level is suitable if you want to pursue specialist knowledge at a high level in your subject. Success at this level should indicate to employers competence to work in the field. Extensive relevant experience is recommended before attempting this level. Candidates must hold the Intermediate qualification in the module before attempting the professional level. Courses at this level would be expected to take a minimum of 3 days.
Your AST will usually charge a fee for the educational courses you take leading up to the qualification. The course fee will usually reflect its length, skills level, and the costs involved in running it, and is at the discretion of the AST. View the course calendar to find course details and contact information for ASTs near you.
SCAA Heritage Program Equivalency
SCAA Pathway Certificates will be honored in the unified SCA Coffee Skills program. See this chart for further information about equivalency and your next educational steps. If you are interested in becoming an AST based on a professional certificate earned by way of an SCAA Pathway certificate equivalency, please contact Kim Ta at KimT@sca.coffee to discuss next steps.
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