2011 Awards for Coffee Excellence Winners
These are the nomination notes made by members for the SCAE's 2011 Awards for Coffee Excellence 2010, presented at World of Coffee in Maastricht on June 21. (All SCAE members were able to nominate the best in the coffee business for these coveted Awards; a committee formed from a cross section of the SCAE membership chose the winners.)
The winner of the Award for Young Entrepreneur
Laima Vezeliene, (Lithuania)
I would like to suggest, as a nominee for Young Entepreneur, Laima Vezeliene.
She 37 years old, established and succesfully running one of the biggest coffee shop chains in Lithuania, Vero Cafe (www.verocafe.lt).
She started the business in 2007, opening the first coffee shop in Kaunas.It was the first coffee shop starting to introduce coffee take away service in Kaunas. She expanded the business rapidly and now, on March 3rd, the 20th coffee shop was opened in Vilnius.
The main target is young entepreneurs who are in a hurry but anyway looking for a best quality coffee. Vero Cafe uses Dalla Corte coffee machines, and puts a lot of effort into making the best coffe in the country (changing grinders and portafilters regularly, investing in a superior water cleaning system in all the cafes).
The baristas take part in the Lithuanian barista championships and the company sponsors baristas to visit the World Barista Championships.
Another very interesting fact is that Vero Cafe could be called a women's business enterprise. The management of the company is women: Laima is director of the company, the commercial director and administration managers are women, and more when 80% of the baristas are women.
The big success for the company was that for its three-year anniversary, Vero Cafe made a record cup of cappuccino of 165 litres.
The winner of the Award for Innovation
Yiannis Taloumis (Greece)
We like to nominate Yiannis Taloumis for the SCAE innovation award.
When it comes to quality coffee, Greece has for a very long time been like a ”white spot” on the coffee map. The market has been and is dominated by Brazil Rio flavoured coffees that are mainly used in the traditional Ibrik. Or, if you have visited Greece as a tourist, you will have been served a cold shaken Frappe that mainly is instant coffee, ice cubes and milk powder. Walking through a Greek coffee exhibition has been a very different aromatic experience for most of us. Innovation was needed.
It was therefore a true pleasure to meet roaster Yiannis at a recent catering exhibition in Athens, and to see what he represents through his Taf coffee.
Gone were the doubtful qualities and they were replaced by innovative single origins and estates only to be found also at the finest speciality roasters throughout the world. Coffees you may know from Cup Of Excellence or coffees you may not know that are traced by Yiannis himself throughout the coffee world. This innovative U turn has taken some five years, and there is a market for it in spite of what we read about recession in Greece. Well done, and a brave initiative.
But it does not end there. Yiannis takes pride in also looking after the end product, regardless of how it is brewed. You will find the Taf name as judge in quality competitions, one of his baristas at number 5 in last year's world championship, and he takes a very active part in the SCAE Gold Cup and Educational programs. That is real innovation.
The winner of the Award for Lifetime Achievement
John Schluter, Schluter Trading (Switzerland)
After working with Cooper Brothers & Co and qualifying as a certified accountant, John spent nearly 40 years working in the coffee industry. The first 15 were in East Africa, including time in Uganda, Kenya, D R Congo, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
From the early 1980s, he directed the family company’s main trading office, first in London and, from 1990, in Switzerland, continuing to work mainly with African origin producers and exporters, and with associated offices in up to six producing countries.
After handing the family company to the next generation in 2003, he founded Café Africa in 2006, in order to address the potential for Africa’s coffee sector to provide a sustainable way of reducing poverty in many rural African economies and to meet growing world demand.
John is knowledgeable about the industry, for which he has real passion and therefore has been a real inspiration to many in the industry and thoroughly deserving of this award.