A new globally focused coffee expert certification program has launched, courtesy of a Los Angeles-based startup called Masters of Coffee.
The for-profit venture comes with a proven sibling certification program in the spirits world called The Council of Whiskey Masters, and a founding advisory board that includes prominent coffee industry names such as Dan Cox, Darrin Daniel, Kenneth Davids, Simon Hsieh, Sunalini Menon and Spencer Turer.
According to the organization’s founder and executive director Jörn Kleinhans, the certification program is designed as a lower-cost alternative to existing coffee education and certification schemes that results in a clear professional title.
“Many coffee enthusiasts, and professionals, are looking for an affordable path to a valid credential that can help them to advance in their careers,” Kleinhans recently told DCN. “Other programs offer excellent education but may not lead to a professional title, or they offer a credential with a different purpose and scope.”
To be clear, existing coffee education programs and certification schemes come in many different shapes and sizes online and in person, including formal academic programs, private coffee companies offering expert-led in-house programs, and broadly accepted industry-focused certification programs from nonprofit organizations such as the Specialty Coffee Association or the Coffee Quality Institute.
There are currently two tiers of certification outlined in the Masters of Coffee program: the level 1 “Certified Coffee Specialist (CCS)” certification; and the level 2 “Master of Coffee” certification.
The CCS designation involves remote study using an illustrated guide on topics covering the entire coffee chain, from growing and processing to coffee making and tasting. The study period is followed by a 100-question test. Candidates who pass the test will receive the Certified Coffee Specialist title, a printed diploma and a lapel pin.
The CCS program cost is $595, and the program is open now.
The CCS designation is also required for enrollment in the Masters of Coffee program. Scheduled to launch next year, the Masters program will involve a multi-day study period and examination that will take place once a year in Los Angeles.
One of the organization’s primary pitches is a focus on global accessibility, particularly through the remote Certified Coffee Specialist (CCS) track.
“Opening up coffee credentials to people from around the world is an important goal,” Kleinhans told DCN. “Our 1st-level certification, the Certified Coffee Specialist credential, is fully remote, both study and exam, and therefore brings down barriers for those who don’t have local access to existing programs.”
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Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.