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Starting my coffee career in 1999, I have spent the last 17 years on a never ending quest for knowledge and understanding. While I have learned much about the entire chain of coffee production, my experience thus far has been heavily concentrated on the preparation & consumption of coffee.  


Barista Training and Coaching

With over 10 years of training experience,  I have become a master of the espresso craft, committing the act of preparing espresso to seemingly permanent muscle memory.  In the midst of this journey I began training others, helping them to advance their knowledge as I continued to expand my own. Over the course of time and experience I have become a more effective teacher, helping to simplify the learning process to its most effective components for self education and maintenance. I ultimately believe in "teaching people to fish" and giving them the tools that empower this continual process. Training people for cafes, as well as in competitive settings, many of my trainees have not only achieved their goals, but surpassed their own ambitions. 

Cafe Management

During my 8 years of cafe management I was in charge of all of the functioning aspects of the cafe including- hiring, ordering and inventory, training and orientation, banking and tracking financial performance. I learned and helped to create systems to track data and craft reporting that informed our business decisions. From register programs to in-store marketing and how to sell whole bean coffee to anyone, I've developed strategies to eliminate unecessary steps and make managing the odds and ends as simple as possible. 

Personel Management

Managing day-to-day operations is one skill set while managing people is quite another animal. As a result, I have come to see it best to separate the two when discussing my approach to management. 

In the course of my coffee career I have been in cafe management positions for around 8 years. During this time I was in charge of staffs at multiple locations, handling hiring/firing, scheduling and staff issues. With more people comes more need to find systems that can work towards better morale and to cultivate an atmosphere of professional respect. My primary goal in management was people first and organically generating a team mentality is central to this method. Through this process I have found many ways to create a harmonious environment for both staff and customers to just coexist as people and foster a community environment. From my experience, this is how the most efficient, fun and rewarding  work gets done! 

Quality Control

A couple of my positions required that I be involved with the quality control of product. This included espresso blend management, single origin espresso research and development, cupping and tastings as well as selecting brew methods appropriate for the flavors of specific coffees. Another way that this could be looked at is that I have tasted a LOT of coffee and, therefore, have experience with a wide range of what is possible in the experience of coffee and how to achieve it, time after time. See my "Portfolio" section for the results of one of my greatest studies from my years in QC- "Espresso Evaluation"

Event Management

Through work with the Specialty Coffee Association of America in 2014 & 2015, I was the stage manager for 2 United States Barista Championships and several regional competitions around the United States. Heavy on multi-tasking, this position required a great deal of communication, team building, excellent time management skills and a thorough understanding of the USBC rules and regulations. To this day it is one of the craziest positions I have ever held- like herding caffienated cats onto a stage one by one. And it's live streamed. It was fun. 

Work History

Jan 2015Present

Co-Owner/Lead Taster

Roast Ratings

After his win at the World Barista Championship, Pete and I had many opportunities before us- from there it was ours to decide where to take things. Roast Ratings came out of our collective passions- tasty coffee, education &  serving everyday coffee loving people. Creating our own rating system, we evaluate coffee through traditional professional means, but with a more common twist- scoring every coffee as a regular drip brew using home equipment. And, of course, we employ our writing talents to create content that is designed to meet coffee drinkers right where there at, helping them maneuver the wide array of options available in our modern coffee world. 

Duties include- Tasting and evaluating coffees for ratings, developing reviews, writing content for website, financial tracking, administrative organization, communications, social media marketing, creative content. 

Company Website:

Aug 2013Present

Project Coordinator/Consultant

Licata Coffee Consultants

After Pete's WBC win, there came many requests for appearances, consultations, trainings and endorsements. In order to organize this aspect of Pete's new found fame he created Licata Coffee Consultants and asked me to join in the adventure. For my part the work is varied, ranging from administrative to training and consultation. Through this company we have had a lot of opportunities to be part of the greater world view of Specialty Coffee, often finding ourselves in places like Australia, China, Japan and southeast Asia. 

  • Project Coordinator- administrative organization, communication and negotiations, invoicing & financial tracking
  • Consultant- barista training, competitive coaching, content development, quality control, start up & managerial advising

Company Website:

Jun 2013Present

Coffee Guide

About The Coffee

About The Coffee came into my coffee life at an opportune time. I was looking for a break from the hectic life of retail cafe management, but not yet ready to give up talking with people about coffee. It was perfectly suited for my career needs at the time. 

As a Coffee Guide I would help consumers find  home coffee brewing equipment that fit their tastes and needs. I also created a monthly newsletter, coordinated demonstrations and classes and trained new staff members of all the crazy coffee equipment you could ever dream up. 

Company Website:

Aug 2013Mar 2014


Barnes & Noble Booksellers

For a short stint during a transitional time in my coffee life, I indulged another interest of mine- the love of the written word. While Barnes & Noble initially trains all staff to cashier, I quickly got shifted to the information desk where I would answer phones, arrange marketing displays, help with technical issues on Nook devices and, most importantly, do whatever it took to get the book in their hands.  At Barnes and Noble, customer service is king! I learned a lot from their intricate model. 

Company Website:

Jul 2000Jun 2013

Cafe Manager/Customer Service/Trainer/Espresso QC

PT's Coffee Roasting Co.

When you've been at a place for over a decade, it's difficult to know exactly how to begin. The easiest way to sum it up is that, for a while, PT's was my universe. It was never my intention to seek out a job with them- we happened across each other's paths in 2000, when PT's decided to expand their reach outside the city of Topeka, buying an existing location in the Kansas City market. The shop that I happened to be working at at the time. Little did we all know just how long we'd be together in our coffeelives. 

In many ways, I am who I am in coffee because of my time at PT's Coffee Roasting Co. Their leadership style creates an environment ripe for self-starters to pursue deep levels of knowledge and experience in the coffee world. Early adopters for much of the innovation in coffee, employees have constant access to the cutting edge of technology in and advances in coffee techniques and sourcing. A veritable rainbow of coffee flavor, they often have multitudes of microlot coffee available to taste and play with through every imaginable means. This attitude of experimentation, combined with their liberal access to their considerable resources, gave me an endless view on what a career in coffee could possibly entail, and, most importantly, invited me to keep perfecting my own craft. 

In my 13 years with PT's a had a number of roles as I grew in skill and knowledge. There were times when I focused on one role, but often I was managing positions simultaneously. Many of these skills and duties developed during the course of my career at PT's are listed in the Skills section above. The highlights include

  • Retail Cafe and Staff Management
  • Espresso Development, Blending, Maintenance, & Quality Control
  • Cafe and Barista training, development of program
  • Competitive Barista Training and Coaching
  • Wholesale Customer Service, developing effective order tracking systems for peak efficiency

More details can be provided or discussed upon interest. 

Company Website:

Certifications & Accomplishments

Jan 2005Present

Competitive Barista Coach/Advisor

Regional, National and World Levels

With a disciplined approach many of my competitors have found great success in the competitive barista field, pushed beyond their initial ideas into presenting beyond their wildest expectations. What I most enjoy about serving people in this role is helping facilitate their growth, both professional and personal. Some side effects of being coached by myself include- confidence in public speaking ability, greater precision in the art of self expression, mastery of technical ability and learning how to effectively 'sweat the small stuff' so that you can actually focus on nailing the big stuff. I have coached or advised over  25 people,  over half of which have been finalists in their competitions.

The highest achievements of the last few years include:

  • Pete Licata, World Barista Champion 2013, US Barsta Champion 2011, 2013
  • Craig Simon of Australia, 4th place 2014 World Barista Championship, Australian Champion 2014
  • Hidenori Izaki of Japan, World Barista Champion 2014
  • Cole McBride of USA
    • 2nd place in United States Barista Championship 2015
    • US Western Regional
  • Jade Jennings of Australia, 2nd place in Australian Barista Championship 2016
Jan 2015Present

Licensed Q Grader

Coffee Quality Institute

In order to better understanding the common professional coffee lexicon, I went through a week of training and testing in the Q Grader system. As one of the more challenging studies I've taken on in my adult life, I can honestly say after 20 exams that it is no simple feat to get this certification. What I gained from the experience is better calibration/diplomacy skills, refined neutrality while tasting and a greater grasp of how Specialty Coffee is becoming more standardized around the globe. The experience lent itself well to overcaffienated bonding with a lot of great people too. 

From The Coffee Quality Institute: "The Q Coffee System identifies quality coffees and brings them to market through a credible and verifiable system. A common standard for both Q Arabica, (Specialty Grade) and Q Robusta (Fine Robusta Grade) coffee has resulted in a universally shared language and standard top scoring lots. The Q engages the industry at the producer level to identify lots for specialty, at the export/import level by certifying individuals to grade coffees, and at the buyer level to offer a consumer-facing product with the Q mark. In other words, I am licensed to taste. "

May 2006Aug 2010

United States Barista Championship Head Judge

Specialty Coffee Association of America

For nearly as long as I have been in coffee I have found ways of staying involved with the SCAA's barista competition events. I entered this realm in 2002 as a competitor and, after a few years of testing my skills, I became interested in sitting on the other side of the table. I started judging in 2004 at the first Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition, hosted by a much younger Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago, IL. Starting as a sensory judge, I took to it immediately. Within a few years I became proficient in both sensory and technical judging roles and was invited to join the then US Barista Championship Head Judge Committee in 2006. I served in this capacity for 4 seasons from 2006-2010. 

As far as what this position involved, Head Judges were in charge of:

  • putting on regional and national judge's training seminars
  •  vetting all judges as competent 
  • giving "big picture" feedback to competitors that request it
  • administrative duties at all US competitive events
  • guiding the interpretation of scoring criteria  
  • mediating all judging panels during competition calibrations. 
  • advocating for the competitors to arrive at fair scoring during calibration

What I personally enjoyed about serving in this role was the ability to truly effect change and growth in the perspective of the competitors and help them know what to work on for next time. It also gave me the oppotunity to visit many emerging coffee cities across the United States and get the pulse on our national coffee scene. I have had many strong coffee friends emerge through my time on this committee that serve as a powerful foundation to my coffee network. Coffee is everywhere and, because of competitions, I now have good friends scattered across the whole earth!


Some examples of my published work-

Other Interests and Skills

While I have devoted a lot of my life to the bean, I have taken some time to develop other interests. Some of these include:

  • 12 years of viola taken seriously, followed by 15 of classical appreciation
  • Artist from birth. Primary mediums include colored pencil and fine lined pens/nibs. Sometimes there is a magnifying lamp. 
  • Creative writing. I have always wanted to write a book. In my mind I am always working on it. 
  • Study of mythology, folklore and fairy tales. There is great wisdom tucked away in stories that stand the test of time.