Mihkel Jürimaa //
// 15.11.2017

How I Became the First Authorized SCA Trainer in Estonia

To become an Authorized SCA Trainer (AST) you need to know a lot about coffee. Here’s some basic info about AST and my experience from a two-day AST course.

First of all, what is an Authorized SCA Trainer (AST) and what they do? ASTs are coffee professionals who use their knowledge and trainings skills to deliver SCA courses.

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) is a membership-based association built on foundations of openness, inclusivity, and the power of shared knowledge. From coffee farmers to baristas and roasters, our membership spans the globe, encompassing every element of the coffee value chain. (More about SCA, their work and vision)

The SCA education program offers education in the following specialties within the coffee industry: Introduction to Coffee, Barista Skills, Brewing, Green Coffee, Sensory Skills and Roasting.

Education within each CSP (Coffee Skills Program) module progresses from the Foundation Level to the Intermediate Level, and then to the Professional Level. Students who are qualified at the Intermediate and Professional level may wish to pursue a teaching profession and apply to attend the AST Train the Trainer Course. Each certificate earned has a certain point value assigned. Foundation certificates receive 5, Intermediate 10, and Professional 25. Introduction to Coffee is worth 10 points. When 100 points are reached, the Coffee Skills Diploma is earned. (More about SCA Education Program)

SCA Coffee AST Certificate Course in London

Two-day AST course in London

At the end of August, I travelled to London to make an AST exam and certificate. The AST course was two days, and it took place in SCA Head Office in Chelmsford. Let’s just say that SCA office is a real paradise for a person who values silence, calm and green environment.

14 coffee enthusiasts attended the training. The course brought together participants from all over the world: Brazil, USA, Greece, United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Czech Republic and Estonia. All participants had previously completed at least one of the CSP modules, and for most people it was Barista Skills. There was also participant who had made all 6 modules in half a year (wow!). Our trainer was Kim, who is UK SCA trainer. We met Kim a year ago in Barista Camp in Pärnu.

On the first day of the training we were introduced to various learning styles and techniques. We also got familiar with different teaching opportunities. You need to focus on them when you’re making a SCA exam.

On the second day of the training, we presented our homework on your own chosen topic. The time was limited, 10 minutes per person. The presentations were filmed and rated by other participants. That way you got feedback on what was good and what was bad. Here’s some examples of the topics what people choose: How to brew coffee with Chemex, How to fold a t-shirt in 3 seconds, Acaia scale, Water quality, Freddo espresso, How to throw a rugby ball, and my topic was about cold brew.

SCA Coffee AST Certificate Course in London

After that we were introduced to the possibilities of the SCA website and how to prepare the AST exam, how to send exams for review and how to give out certificates to attended participants.

In summary, it was interesting and intensive two days, and it is great honour to be the first AST trainer in Estonia. :)

Mihkel Jurimaa AST Trainer Estonia