SET Course – NAIROBI, KENYA (Jan. 29th – Feb. 1st, 2022)


Non-Member: $1345 USD
COE Members: $1076 USD

January 29th – February 1st, 2022

Alliance for Coffee Excellence is excited to announce our first ever SET course in Africa. The Course will be hosted and sponsored by African Coffee Roasters. It’ll be taught by Alex Pond, ACE’s Education Coordinator.

African Coffee Roasters (ACR) is a specialty coffee roasting and packaging facility based in Athi River, Kenya, about 30 minutes from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Located in an Export Processing Zone (EPZ), ACR caters to the export market and serves customers predominantly in the European market. ACR purchases green coffee from seven African countries and roasts and packages finished products to our customers’ specifications. We maintain the following certifications: EU/USDA Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, FSSC 22000.

6 in stock




Alex has worked in specialty coffee for over a decade. In 2005, Alex started in coffee working as a barista in his hometown of Eugene, Oregon. In 2009 he competed in, and won, the Northwest Regional Barista Competition. Alex has had the honor of working guest barista shifts in Iceland and Sweden and has volunteered for numerous national and international coffee events. In 2012 Alex joined the team at Portland’s Heart Coffee Roasters. Over the course of nearly 6 years at Heart he worked his way from barista, to managing and leading their training department, to working in quality control and green buying. Outside of coffee Alex enjoys traveling, experiencing Oregon’s incredible natural beauty, and Cats. He is also a pretty good cook.

Over the four-day course you will participate in:

  • In-depth lectures and discussions on COE, what is specialty coffee and what makes COE coffee unique.
  • Various sensory exercises designed to help you grow in how you perceive and understand aroma and taste. These exercises will be the start of learning to calibrate with the group.
  • Tastings designed to demonstrate the importance of correct cupping procedure and the effects of different variables on cup profile.
  • Tasting common defects in coffee.
  • Learning about the COE method for scoring coffee.
  • Calibrating with a diverse group of cuppers over multiple cupping sessions.
  • Introduction and discussion around COE’s unique way of evaluating cuppers skill and confidants.
  • A test designed after the program COE uses to select National Jury members.

Classes will begin at 9:00 and finish between 4:30pm and 5:00pm with an hour break for lunch, which will be provided. Be prepared to experience Cup of Excellence (COE). You’ll cup many different coffees, processes and cultivars, practice logistics and cupping protocol of a COE cupping and take an exam just like National Jury sensory professionals. This will show you how you are calibrated with the rest of the jury as well as your sensory confidence with samples that are representative score.

In the first two days, we focus on COE cupping, the protocol of identifying qualities, identifying common flavor attributes, scoring, and a common language. We then will advance to expose all participants to a technical approach to our quality variables, different varietals, and some common defects. Sessions include lab, lecture, and active discussions. We will also provide coffees from other countries for you to taste and learn; processed naturals and honeys/pulped naturals & varieties, etc.

The third day will be filled with multiple cupping and calibration sessions. The fourth day of the class will be the “test” with three cuppings back-to-back.

We’ll be actively standing during cupping and seated for discussions so please wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Absolutely no use of perfume or cologne is allowed. Lunch to be provided.

Please bring with you a notebook and if you like, samples of your roasted beans. You’ll have the opportunity to see other coffees from other attendees.

At the beginning of the class, you will receive a COE cupping spoon and an apron along with other fun things. Upon completion of the class, you will receive a certificate of completion signed by your instructor.  Within three weeks’ time, you will receive an email containing the results of your testing. The information you receive will be in the same format as those who undergo national jury testing.

This experience is intended to share with you the Cup of Excellence program, improve your cupping and sensory evaluation skills and to share with others in a jury setting. This is the best way to learn and calibrate your sensory skills. Thank you for joining us.


Hotel Recommendations

ACR’s facility is in the EPZ Athi River, near the town of Kitengela.

Hilton Garden Inn – ~$170-$120 / night

A great option very near the airport and about 25 minutes from our facility. 

Azure Airport Hotel – ~$80-$100 / night

This is the best option, closest to our facility (but furthest from Nairobi). About 15 minutes away from ACR and in a mall with a couple of nice restaurants and a grocery store. 

Ole Sereni – ~$100-$120 / night

A very nice hotel that sits on the edge of Nairobi National Park and much closer to the city. About 45 minutes from our facility.



All SET courses require a minimum of 8 students to register for the class to run. Once you have registered for the course, we will send you updates on the status of the class and how registration is proceeding. 

SET Courses are eligible for a 100% refund up to 31 days before the start of class. Between 30 and 16 days before the start of class the courses are eligible for a 50% refund. From 15 days prior to the start of the course it is nonrefundable unless the course is canceled by ACE. Refunds Requested over 90 days after the initial date of purchase will only be issued in the form of credit for future purchases on the ACE website. 

If students are late or do not show up for class ACE cannot ensure their cupping data will be included in group discussions, calibrations, or post-class reports

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