The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) has hired longtime Portland coffee professional Alex Pond as the nonprofit group’s education and lab coordinator.
The 2009 Northwest Regional Barista champion, Pond has worked for years for the longtime Portland coffee retailer Fresh Pot before joining the coffee buying and quality-control teams at Portland’s Heart Coffee Roasters.
The nonprofit, membership-driven ACE is best known for organizing the long-running Cup of Excellence competitions and auctions, which for more than 15 years have been providing premium market prices to farmers producing quality coffees.
Yet the group also regularly hosts trainings, cuppings and educational events at its Portland office and lab, an SCA-certified Premier Training Campus. In a recent announcement, ACE said Pond will be charged with coordinating and promoting Sensory Educational Trainings, formerly referred to by ACE as Cupper Camp.
The training program is available to ACE members and non-members alike from the worlds of coffee retail or roasting. The four-day intensive training program is designed to give coffee professionals improved sensory skills for more accurate and consistent coffee evaluation.
According to ACE, the training program helps coffee professionals to better “various aspects of quality in the cup such as clean, sweet, balance, acidity, and mouthfeel. Tasters will be able to define quality both verbally and through appropriate consistent scoring.”