Our Team

  • Darrin Daniel, USA
    Darrin Daniel, USA Executive Director

    Darrin Daniel began his career in specialty coffee in the ’80s working as a barista and later as a roaster’s assistant for the Eugene, Oregon roaster/retailer Coffee Corner, Ltd. He has worked for coffee companies in Seattle, Portland and Denver. His early work with illycaffè began his interest and growth into coffee education and training. Daniel’s was the Head Green Coffee Buyer for Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Director of Sourcing for Allegro Coffee/Whole Foods Market. Daniel’s has travelled to over 34 countries sourcing green coffee and tea. He has forged numerous relationships with coffee growers, mill managers and private and public organizations in Latin America, East Africa and the Indo/Pacific.

    He has served on the Sustainability Council for the SCA and the Executive Council for the Roasters Guild of America. He currently serves on the advisory board for Roast Magazine. Brandon Loper’s 2014 Documentary A Film About Coffee features Daniel’s travels to Rwanda as Head Coffee Buyer for Stumptown Coffee Roasters. He has presented at numerous trade events; including SCA Expo in Seattle, Washington, Re:verb in Guangzhou, China and Sustainable Harvest’s annual Let’s Talk Coffee in Panama. His writings have appeared in Roast Magazine, SCA’s Magazine 25, Barista Magazine and Standart Magazine. Daniel’s previously served as a  judge on 5 Cup of Excellence Juries, beginning with his first in Honduras in 2005. In 2015 he was awarded Imbibe Magazine’s Coffee Person of the Year.

    Outside of coffee, Daniel’s is a student of poetry and loves Mountain Biking and cooking. He can’t tell a good joke and is a horrible dancer.

  • Gary Urrutia, Honduras
    Gary Urrutia, Honduras Auction Manager

    Gary became part of the ACE team in 2018. His passion for coffee started in 2014, working for Volcafe in Honduras as part of the production department.  Eventually, he joined the purchase management team and dealt with procurement around Honduras. Majoring in Logistics Engineering, his thesis was specialty coffee production feasibility; working in coffee allowed him to further develop his skills and learn every day from experiences in the supply chain from bean to cup. After Volcafe, Gary worked in budget management for the National Institute of Technical Education, but he had on his mind the thought of a former coworker who stated, “once in coffee, always in coffee.” His amazing experiences in coffee provoked a strong desire to come back to this fascinating industry. Now, as Auction Manager for COE, based in Honduras but overlooking other origins, Gary enjoys working in operations and logistics. He likes traveling and meeting people from different cultures, as well as eating and Sunday barbeques.

  • Alex Pond, USA
    Alex Pond, USA Education and Lab Coordinator

    Alex Pond has worked in specialty coffee for over a decade. In 2005, Alex started in coffee working as a barista in his home town 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 a 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.

  • Kathia Lopez, Nicaragua
    Kathia Lopez, Nicaragua Field Coordinator

    I was born in Honduras in 1991 during my childhood, my family moved a lot, one of the countries that we move was Nicaragua, one of the most amazing places in the world. During college, I decided to study Marketing, was in my last years at the university that I discovered my passion for coffee.

    I started working in the coffee world in 2014, as an intern in the Specialty Coffee Association of Nicaragua (ACEN). I spent six amazing years learning about cupping, roasting, markets, logistic, producers, and sales; I’ve worked with the Cup of Excellence Program, National Barista Championship, National and International Expos, and for the last three years I was the Director of Marketing and Logistics in ACEN.

    In 2020 I made my Master Degree in Coffee Economics and Science – Ernesto Illy in Italy and started working for Caravela Coffee as Operations Consultant in Nicaragua, this company has given me the opportunity to work directly with different farms, dry processes, exporting and cupping amazing coffees.

  • Hannah Cocanour, USA
    Hannah Cocanour, USA Digital Project Manager

    Hannah was born in Seattle, Washington. She moved to Portland after graduating from Gonzaga University where she studied Political Science.  This is her first time working in the coffee industry, but she’s very excited to be working with such a global community. Her previous experience is in digital marketing and website management.

    In her free time, Hannah is a ceramic potter who loves to cook, do yoga, and go to concerts.


    Alea joined the ACE team in 2020. She grew up in Michigan, but has spent many years in Oregon, and never grows tired of the Portland food and coffee scene. Although she is new to the coffee industry, she has a background as an Office Manager and Commercial Photo Producer, which all share the same multi-tasking and organizational qualities. She is looking forward to utilizing her skill set in a new setting, with a great team. When she is not traveling or exploring; she loves to spend time in her garden. She was raised to have an appreciation for nature, and also enjoys the many aspects of the wilderness surrounding the area via hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing.

  • CC SU, China

    A firm believer of education and a dedicated coffee origin servant, CC has been heavily involved in origin development in Asia since her graduation as the 1st Chinese Coffee Master in 2014. Seen as one of the key participants of the development of coffee in Yunnan, CC has been invited to present on Yunnan Coffee via various channels, including the International Tea&Coffee Symposium (Chiang Rai, 2019), International Women’s Coffee Alliance Breakfast (Seattle, 2018), etc. and paper media like Global Coffee Report.

    Having studied in Europe and worked closely with international companies and organizations including the Coffee Quality Institute, ACDI/VOCA, and the Yunnan International Coffee Exchange, CC is well versed in western and Chinese cultures and is an effective communicator. She is excited and honored to be using her experience and knowledge in coffee and project management in her new role with ACE.

    Outside coffee, CC enjoys cooking, baking, singing, and dancing. As a shutterbug, CC’s photos have been used by different coffee companies, cafés, and magazines. Two of her photos ranked Top 10 in the ICO International Coffee Day 2018 Photo Competition.

    Certified Q Arabica Grader and Q Processing ProfessionalMsc. in Food Innovation & Product; Msc. in Coffee Economics & Science

  • Anna Abatzoglou, USA
    Anna Abatzoglou, USA Managing Director, Marketing & Membership

    Anna grew up in Cupertino, California drinking café con leche, made by her Greek father who grew up drinking them in Argentina. Her interest in coffee developed and in high school she started a coffee cart called the “Steaming Bull”, lovingly named after Monta Vista High School’s mascot, the Matador. Anna moved to the Pacific Northwest for college to attend University of Portland on a volleyball scholarship though she was largely persuaded by Portland’s early 2000s endearing kitschy café scene.

    After graduating with a degree in international business, Anna moved to Greece, where half of her family lives, and professional volleyball for Panathinaikos. The café culture of Portland brought Anna back once again to attend Portland State University for an MBA. Upon graduating, she started a career in food and beverage, serving as a brand manager for one of the US’s largest hog slaughterhouse located just outside Philadelphia. Anna’s desire to work in coffee and return to the Pacific Northwest brought her to ACE, where she helped establish the Portland HQs. Anna served as the Marketing Director for Rogue Ales launching several coffee beers and holding the world’s first International Cold Brew Coffee Throwdown. She also served as the Marketing Director for Corwin Beverage, launching Revolt organic coffee, a gourmet coffee for convenience stores. Anna is now back with ACE and grateful to work in specialty coffee.

    Anna is the dog mom to a blue heeler, Matilda, and white heeler, Fria. She is an avid non-elite cyclist, vegan and olive oil-enthusiast.

  • Sophie, USA
    Sophie, USA Office Greeter

    Sophie does very little around the office and spends most of her time napping, though she does greet all of our guests and deliveries. In her free time she enjoys chasing squirrels, chewing on her toys, and taking more naps.

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