A place to get to know your Working Group members!
Position within the RGE Working Group: Chairwoman
Bio: Sonja Björk Grant, is a barista, roaster, and barista trainer from Iceland. She has worked in specialty coffee since 1995, spending the first 13 years with Kaffitar in Iceland. In 2008 she founded the first third wave cafe and micro-roastery in Iceland, Kaffismiðja Íslands. And now Sonja has founded a new coffee company, Kaffibrugghúsið, a cafe, micro roastery and training centre.
Sonja is one of the pioneers of the World Barista Championship and other barista competitions that World Coffee Events (WCE) organisation oversees, and has substantially contributed to the development of the competition judging system. Sonja has been awarded as SCAE´s Trainer/Teacher Of The Year award in Europe. An SCAE authorised trainer, Sonja travels around the world, giving talks, seminars and teaching workshops. Sonja is a pastWCE Chairwoman, a former advisory board member and has been involved with various Speciality Coffee Committees.
What are your ambitions for Roaster Guild of Europe? To inspire Roasters (of all sizes) to come out of the closet and start sharing their knowledge, skills and passion. With diverse education, networking and great minds the future is bright and exciting.
What are your personal ambitions for 2017? To formally finish the construction of the three faces of my Roastery, Kaffibrugghúsið.
Omni-roasting or Espresso/Filter roasting? At this point in my roasting profession, I'm for Filter/Espresso roast, but I'm very much open for any discussions and I would love to have a chance to discuss the pros and cons
Position within the RGE Working Group: Events Committee
Bio: Based in Sweden, Filip has long been involved with SCA through teaching and a number of accolades including receipt of the SCAE Young Entrepreneur Award 2009. Filip has had a huge part to play in the development of the SCAE CDS roasting modules supported by his position as chair of the SCAE education committee. When he's not teaching or roasting you can find him promoting the international Roasting Championships!
What are your ambitions for Roaster Guild of Europe?: RGE 2017 will be the year where our platform for roasters in Europe take Coffee Roasting to a new level where we together push the knowledge and standards in our field.
My vision for this year's Roaster Camp is to continue as last year and create an attractive environment and platform for roasters to meet and share knowledge and news about our profession. We should create a space where attendees can listen and be active in debates, lectures, presentations and workshops about everything that affects us. And of course to keep an open social format for everybody who loves roasting.
What are your personal ambitions for 2017?: My passion for 2017 is quality control management for a sustainable product development. There are so many good specialty coffees out there on the market that get ruined.
Omni-roasting or Espresso/Filter roasting?: There are too many light roasted coffees forced onto milk drinkers. When will it stop?!
Position within the RGE Working Group: Education Committee
Bio: Born in 1978 in Poland. Filip majored in I/O & Political Psychology at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. He Since 1999, he has worked as a sensory expert and R&D supervisor at Consonni as well as being a green coffee buyer and roast master for Coffee Grange. Creator of leading coffee roaster brands in Poland and abroad. Coffee quality and roasting consultant. Certified Arabica and Robusta Q Grader, Assistant Q Instructor, SCAA Certified Lead Instructor. WCE certified judge (WBC and WBrC). Member and judge for Cup of Excellence. Member of Education Committee for Roaster Guild of Europe.
What are your ambitions for Roaster Guild of Europe? I want RGE to grow as a leading community in professional coffee roasting craft within Europe, Middle East, and East. I’m amazed by the diversity that we have among our countries. Cultural differences are so inspirational. My ambition is that RGE uses these opportunities to generate significant new solutions and standards with respect for diversity and focus on sustainability. I truly believe that there are great chances to succeed and that our guild can provide great input to build, together with our American sister a global specialty coffee community.
What are your personal ambitions for 2017? My personal ambitions for 2017 are that I want to teach my kid to read :-) I also want to finally start farming on my land in Poland and on the coffee side, together with my friends, we want to start a research project that will cover many aspects on coffee storage and water activity with its influence on coffee shelf-life and quality in general.
Omni-roasting or Espresso/Filter roasting? I believe that good quality can defend itself. Usually when we roast we start checking the potential of beans and then we try to bring the best out of them. We start brewing coffee and see if we need to make any adjustments in roasting. Some coffees roasted for filter are great in espresso and some are not. We believe in tailoring roast so it will help barista do their job but we are not conservative.
What’s your position within the Working Group? Unification Committee
When SCAE and SCAA members voted to unify and create SCA, many of the most optimistic voices came from the roasting community, including members of RGE and RG. The benefits that we envisioned included a stronger voice for sustainability efforts and a unified education program. For this to be achieved a Roasters Guild Unification Group was built, which is made up of myself, Filip and Konrad representing RGE, RG representatives Emilio Lopez Diaz and Andi Trindle Mersch plus Guilds Manager, Isa Verschraegen and Director of Special Projects, Ellie Hudson representing SCA.
The Roasters Guild Unification group had their first meeting at SCAA HQ in Santa Ana in January 2017 where we wrote up the proposal of the Coffee Roasting Guild’s vision and mission. Since then we have been working dozens and dozens of hours in Google Docs besides the monthly Unification Committee Group meeting. All the work has gone into writing up a Bylaws and Rules of Procedure for the Coffee Roasters Guild. While the goal to unify the two guilds with different histories, cultures, traditions, and languages is surely ambitious, the process has been collaborative and constructive. In it, we benefitted from both the long history of the RG and the vibrant new energy of the RGE as making the Coffee Roasters Guild possible. The first draft of the bylaws is actually finished and we await input from our Roaster Guild Committees.
Bio: Born and raised in Borlänge in Dalarna Sweden, Joanna started working with specialty coffee in Norway about eleven years ago. She has been working at Swedish-based roaster Drop Coffee since 2010, starting out as a barista Joanna is now the Managing Director and owner. Joanna is proud of Drop Coffee and grateful to be able to do what something that she heartily loves.
I’ve also been competing a lot in barista and roasting championships and been winning the Swedish Roasting Champion (2014, 2016) and placed 2nd (2015), 3rd (2014) and 4th (2016) in the World Coffee Roasting Championship.
What are your ambitions for RGE? I’m very into the unification at the moment and for the future, I truly hope that RGE together with RG will build a guild that is a relevant community for roasters to be a part of, no matter where they are located. Personally, I find the most unique thing about the future guild is the great diversity of people and experiences that input into the events and education offered.
Also, I am super thrilled about this year's event in Opalencia in October. I think Poland, in general, is so ”happening" in coffee and I already feel the extra energy from that culture. It’s the second year for the RGE to host the well-organised event – this year it looks like the program will be even more spread in topics and offering different levels and focus which I think can suit more roasters.
What are your personal ambitions for 2017?
Making the rules and regulations for the Coffee Roasters Guild – a good starting point to for us continue to make creative events and a useful forum for the community.
Omni-roasting or Espresso/Filter roasting?
Omni. I roast how I personally love to drink it, as we all do I guess.
Position within the RGE Working Group: Chair of the Education Committee.
Research: With my external lecturer position at Department of Food Science sponsored by SCA and my seat at SCA’s Research council and my many years of research projects in CoffeeMind I’m providing a connection to a lot of the past and ongoing research in specialty coffee. Also, a focus for me is how we can start creating our own research as a guild which I will address at the upcoming camp.
Education: As the lead creator of the SCAE Roasting certification system and part of the new SCA roasting certification creators group I’m also bridging SCA’s education to the guild community so that the certification system is available for the guild and the guild provides valuable feedback to the certification system.
What are your ambitions for Roaster Guild of Europe? To help European roasters develop an identity as coffee roasters and share ambitions, dreams, curiosity, passion, skills and knowledge to strengthen and the community and build for the future.
What are your personal ambitions for 2017? To clarify even more my role in my life and my business to be of more value for my family, friends, colleagues and customers.
Omni-roasting or Espresso/Filter roasting? I never answer technical questions like this without getting to know the context where the coffee should be used in. In some business models Omni-roasting is the correct solution and in others, a differentiation between espresso and filter roasting is the right solution. There is never a technical right or wrong outside the business model context that gives the coffee the purpose which provides the right/wrong framework for such a question. This is explained in the lecture I gave at the camp in 2016 about Business Models of Coffee Roasters.
What's your position within the Working Group? Membership & Communications Committee
Bio: Lisa (centre) is Managing Director of Dear Green Coffee Roasters as well as an AST in Sensory and Barista Skills.
Lisa has been a member of the Roaster Guild of Europe Working Group since the Guild was founded alongside being the founder of the Glasgow Coffee Festival and the host of the UK Roasting Championships.
What's your position within the Working Group? Events Committee
Bio: Konrad Oleksak moved back home from Ireland in 2010, where he was working in the coffee industry since 2004. With encouragement from his wife, Konrad became National Coordinator of Speciality Coffee Association of Europe and not long after, with love for coffee, opened his coffee roastery Kofi Brand in 2011 in Warsaw. Since then, he’s been very much involved in creating and promoting coffee in Poland through events, competitions and workshops. Judging coffee competitions on a national and international level was a big part of his professional life until he was invited to the Working Group of Roasters Guild of Europe where he currently is a member of Events Committee. While managing his roastery, Konrad is also coaching barista competitors, roasting and sourcing coffee for them with success on both national and international competitions. Grateful for an amazing group of people in the soon to be unified Coffee Roasters Guild, he is looking forward to create synergy from different experiences from both guilds and build a strong, global, and reliable source of knowledge.
Serve on a Roaster Guild of Europe Committee
If you are interested in getting involved, please consider joining a committee! The Roaster Guild of Europe has four committees: Membership, Events, Communications, and Education. This is an application to serve on a committee as a volunteer member: