Stephen began his work in coffee as a barista for Zoka Coffee in Seattle and spent much of his career as a trainer and educator for Zoka, as well as Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. He placed third in the 2003 US Barista Championship and has since served a USBC and WBC judge, as well as a Cup of Excellence international jury member.
A couple of years ago, Stephen shifted his work to origin, applying his well-rounded knowledge of the high-end specialty roaster market to help farmers improve the quality of their coffee and, in turn, their quality of life. During his time as Quality Control Project Manager for Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, he implemented rigorous quality control systems and protocols for the 5,000 farmer members of the Kanyovu Cooperative near Kigoma, Tanzania. The cooperative’s shift in focus with regards to quality resulted in Kanyovu winning first prize at the 2010 EAFCA Taste of Harvest competition in Mombasa, Kenya.
Stephen hosted a lecture on quality control systems at origin and their affect on a roaster’s ability to source high-quality coffees.