Technical Education Instructors

  • Scott Conary
    Scott Conary

    As Owner of award-winning Cafe’s in Chapel Hill, NC (USA), along with his wholesale roastery, Carrboro Coffee Roasters; Scott has had many opportunities to travel, teach and learn about coffee production, process, selection, roasting, retail and quality trends for the last 24+ years. He is an active educator in the industry in most all disciplines, and consults for cafes and businesses nationally and around the world for technical skill, knowledge, and competition. He serves as a World Coffee Events Representative and Certified Head Judge for the World Coffee Championships for the last 18 years, and is also an instructor for the WCE Judge Certification program.  Scott sits on multiple WCE and SCA Committees and has been active as a member of the CQI Coffee Corp. He has been involved in the Cup of Excellence Program since 2007 and a Head Judge & SET Instructor since 2015.

  • Alex Pond
    Alex Pond Head Judge & Sr. Education Manager

    Alex started in coffee in 2005, working as a barista in his hometown of Eugene, Oregon. In 2009 he competed in and won the Northwest Regional Barista Competition. Alex has worked guest barista shifts in Iceland and Sweden and has volunteered for numerous national and international coffee events, including the Nordic Barista Cup, as a USBC Judge. In 2012 Alex joined the team at Portland’s Heart Coffee Roasters. Over nearly six years at Heart, Alex directed their training programs, managed quality control, and worked as part of the green buying team.

    Alex enjoys travel, Oregon’s incredible natural beauty, and Cats. He is also a pretty good cook.

  • Rachel Apple
    Rachel Apple

    Rachel Apple is a seasoned coffee professional and independent consultant with over 15 years of experience in the industry. She specializes in both green and roasted quality control, green coffee supply chain, building and fine-tuning coffee purchasing programs, and well as seed to cup education and training In addition to being a Q grader, she has participated in several COE juries over the past 5 years, and is now a COE SET Instructor. She has extensive experience across the coffee spectrum; previous roles include having been Coffee Global Supply Chain Manager and Coffee Quality & Qualifications manager for Cometeer, QC Manager for George Howell Coffee, and Head Roaster & Trainer for Elemental Coffee Roasters. In these roles, she successfully sourced and roasted high-quality coffees, built out coffee QC & purchasing programs, created blends, and developed training programs for baristas and roasters alike. Rachel is known for her expertise in applying her strong sensory skill set to cupping, brewing and roasting, as well as her passion for sustainability and social responsibility in the coffee industry. She is committed to promoting transparency and equity in the coffee supply chain and enjoys collaborating with coffee producers and other stakeholders to create positive change. In her spare time, Rachel spends a lot of time in the kitchen baking, fermenting, cooking, and taking lavish photos of the results.

  • Luis Rodríguez
    Luis Rodríguez COE Head Judge

    Holding an Economics and Business Administration degree, his coffee life started as Head of Economics Department for the Salvadoran Coffee Council back in 2001. The coffee bug bit him while overseeing several quality and marketing programs. In 2003, he co-coordinated the first CoE program in El Salvador and kept involved until 2009, when he became a coffee grower and started a consulting firm focused on marketing, quality control and fostering relationships between growers and buyers.

    He’s been related to Cup of Excellence not only as organizer but as national and international judge, winning CoE grower and now as Head Judge for ACE/CoE since 2021. Luis holds active Q Grader license, Q Processing Professional certificate as well as having a Lecturer certificate for teaching Quality Evaluation and Post Harvesting Processing courses for CQI. He founded the Salvadoran Coffee School and currently acts as president for the Salvadoran Coffee Cuppers Association (ASCAFE).

  • Armando Sierra
    Armando Sierra

    Armando Sierra is a passionate coffee person with over two decades of experience in the business, he has witnessed firsthand COE contests as a National Jury and International jury in South & Central America since 2005 thus, he understands in and out the hard work behind producing a good cup of coffee.

    Armando started his career as a Food Scientist and got engaged with coffee working in the field as a Quality Control Manager for the largest coffee exporter in a producer country (Colombia/FNC), Master Roaster with Specialty Roasteries (Australia/MECCA), Head of Arabica Project in Asia with major Agri-business Company (Vietnam/OLAM), entrepreneur/importer (Denmark/Star-up), Project Manager (UAE-Dubai/CYPHER), Trader and Green Coffee buyer (Korea/ SPC) and currently Director of Coffee for independent Roastery/MAGMA.

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