The award was presented during this year’s World of Coffee event organised by SCAE in Dublin.
DUBLIN – The SCAE Excellence Awards have taken place this afternoon on the stage of the Royal Dublin Society. During the most awaited specialty event of the year SCAE presented Edy Bieker with a Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his long-standing career as Sandalj Trading’s head of quality and training. Four decades of work have imparted a truly remarkable understanding of coffee as an agricultural product, a beverage and the industry as a whole, and have been witness to Edy’s unwavering drive to promulgating a culture for espresso and quality.
After receiving the award Edy Bieker mentioned the gratitude he feels for his first mentor Luciano de Giovanni, unfaltering supporter of his work, and Vincenzo Sandalj, founding member and past SCAE President, with whom he has shared decades of hard work, research and fieldwork in the name of quality. He then thanked his long-standing colleagues and Sandalj board members Enrico Venuti and Maurizio Rossmann, and credited his valued team in the Sandalj quality and training departments for their untiring work and invaluable contribution to his personal and professional development.
Born in Trieste in ‘53 and in the coffee sector since ‘76, in 1990 Edy Bieker joined Sandalj Trading Company –who is currently celebrating its 70th year in business, where he is currently chief operating officer and head of the quality department and the Accademia del Caffè. In 2009 he was named a Maestro del Lavoro of the Italian Republic for his professional achievements, is one of the first Authorised SCAE Trainers in Italy, and among other roles, has been a judge for both Cup of Excellence and Barista competitions.
“When I first started working, the norm used to be evaluating green coffee solely on the basis of whether description and appearance matched. Cupping also used to be done exclusively in its traditional form. The problem I saw with this was that consumption in Italy has always been predominantly espresso-based, thus requiring a much darker roast than that used for traditional cupping. Moreover, in as much as espresso extraction is characterised by an entirely different and often more complex spectrum of aromas, we realised traditional evaluation methods were not as exhaustive as we required them to be. We consequently decided to pioneer the use of espresso extraction for the purpose of evaluation and sample approval”.
Edy’s department receives more than 3,000 samples a year, and evaluates upwards of 35,000 cups during the same time period. This has allowed him and his team to gather extensive particulars and statistics, enabling them to construct a standardised espresso cupping process. Sandalj’s Espresso Protocol will be presented this coming October during TriestEspresso Expo.
The sheer volume of know-how accumulated during his personal quest for quality had prompted the establishment, in 2000, of Sandalj Trading’s training department, designated Accademia del Caffè. More than 2,500 diplomas and 16 years later, the courses can be tailored to the knowledge requirements of the learners, and include sessions on blending, cupping, evaluation of green and roasted beans, and much more. “I am profoundly happy when the course participants are in a position to look at a coffee bean with an evaluative mind frame”.
On stage he thanked SCAE and its community for the momentous effort and dedication demonstrated throughout the years. Pleased with the progress he has witnessed in the past decades, he added that seeing so many hardworking and motivated young people in the coffee sectors gives him much hope for the years to come.