I have been seeing this since we have been going to Coffee Fest 4 years ago and I was thinking about 'getting certified' in September. I do not know much about it, however, and wanted your thoughts..

1. Is it worth it?
2. What is expected?
3. Other thoughts?

It seems that every certification you can get is just more education so it seems that it would be worth at least giving it a go but I don't want to waste $89.00 for nothing!

Thanks for your help.


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Comment by Jason Duncan on July 21, 2008 at 3:14pm
So, I heard from David at Coffee Fest that they will supply a study guide once I registered and said that I should read it over at least 5 times before taking the written test. Is this all worth it? I can't decide!
Comment by Jason Duncan on July 18, 2008 at 6:19am
IASC = International Academy of Specialty Coffee (a group designed by Coffee Fest)
Comment by Jason Duncan on July 18, 2008 at 6:17am
Thanks for your help with this, guys. This pretty much sums up what I thought about the certification in the first place. It may be a good idea still to take it just for the education - both skills and also in what types of programs we should put in place at Evoke.

Thanks again.
Comment by Jason Dominy on July 17, 2008 at 10:55am
The IASC is a creation of CoffeeFest. It's certification is very much like many of the ones offered by roasters all over the country. I, too, looked into this "certification" as a way to see how I may implement it into my own program, but determined that I was already doing the same things, just not telling people they were now certified. That being said, from what I have heard from people who have done it, it is a good basics class, and for beginners, anything like this is good. Just don't throw the certification around to the best shop in your town and expect them to treat you like Kyle Glanville. Many of the finest places I know, like Octane in Atlanta and Intelligenstsia in Chicago and L.A. have their own stringent training and certification.
That being said, the more education you can receive, the better. The best baristas I know of are the ones who soak up coffee knowledge like a sponge. I'm just sayin'.
Comment by Trevor on July 17, 2008 at 8:54am
Hey Jason, I took the IASC certification almost two years ago. My motivation for taking it was to get an idea of what a certification test might look like in wanting to set up my own certification for my staff. The test is composed of two parts, one being written the other being hands on. The written test encompasses coffee history, equipment, brewing and extraction standards, and customer service. Its an okay summary of all the coffee. However, I found that these are definitely things that any shop should be teaching their employees. Unfortunately this isn't the case.
The hands on part of the test involved a coffee professional asking you to make him/her certain drinks and you being judged on working knowledge/understanding of the machine, shot extraction, milk steaming, and drink knowledge. This part I had fun with being confident with the skills I had.
With all that being said, the determined value of it is truly up to you. If you feel it will push you to learn more and improve your skills than I would say its worth it. It is not a certification that is hard to attain so it will not necessarily garnish you any great respect within the specialty coffee industry. However, for your own personal education and to show off to customers its not a bad thing. Hope that helps you in your decision. If you have any further questions feel free to shoot them to me.


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