In the Pacific Northwest, there is a rich culture and history in the coffee industry, and it is pretty easy to find knowledgeable coffee professionals. Among them is the very dynamic Jen Hurd, who has been in the business for over 20 years.
“She has been a barista, a lead in barista training, cafe consulting, roasted sales, green sales, competition judging,” explains Joey Gleason, owner at Buckman Coffee in Portland, OR. “Jen has such an incredible knowledge of the industry top to bottom, which I feel is unique.”
From her beginnings as a barista and supervisor at Supreme Bean Coffee, she was always motivated and brought a positive attitude.
“I first started out right out of high school in the late ’90s. It was the height of coolness to be a barista. I thought it was going to be a college job. When I got my degree, I was sure I would be a social worker forever and… I made it six months. After being a barista and cafe manager for eight years, a coffee sales job came up, and I was interested. that was in 2007. That’s when I made the decision that coffee was the path for me.” Jen explains.
After 22 years in the industry, Ms. Hurd has an extensive network of supporters, and she wants to pass that on. Jen continues, “I want to make the coffee industry a little better each day if I can. Whether it’s helping someone get into a competition or find resources or highlighting and promoting how much good work there is out there. Not everyone can work for a company that has the resources or the desire to help elevate them in the industry.”
Of course, part of this comes from the feelings of gratitude she has for some of her mentors and supporters in the industry like “Joey and Cassy Gleason, co-owners of Buckman Coffee Factory and Marigold Coffee Roasters, Marcus Young at Boot Coffee, Teresa Von Fuchs at Bellwether and Mauricio Jimenez, GM of GO and VSC as well as Rich Futrell, NA Sales Manager at Caravela.
Jen reflects, “I can go to them with any question, and they would help me out.” These are extremely valuable relationships that help create a culture of growth. Jen continues, “I am very fortunate that I am Oregon born and raised, and my whole coffee career has been in the Willamette Valley.”
Being a coffee pro in a town of coffee pros is a testament to her skills and likability. Jen is the current President of the Oregon Coffee Board and is excited to bring her enthusiasm for providing support to the coffee community to her work with the executive board. The challenge is that traditionally this would involve in-person functions meant to build community. She is not discouraged by this and is certain that they will find new ways to engage and instruct their community.