October 7, 2016

Why All Coffee Lovers Should Volunteer Once (or More!)


Dublin 2016 was my third volunteer experience with World of Coffee, and it was just as valuable, inspiring, and fun as every other time.

I encourage you to consider volunteering for events – whether big or small. Here’s why.

Spanish Version: Por Qué los Amantes del Café deberían ser voluntarios alguna vez (o más)

How I Got Into Volunteering

In 2014, I volunteered at the espresso bar at World of Coffee Rimini for three days. I was also a calibration barista.

In 2015, I volunteered at the brew bar at World of Coffee Gothenburg. It gave me the opportunity to experience new brewing methods, and work with some of the most famous coffee roasters in the world.

In 2016, I decided to go further: I became an assistant manager in the Brewers Cup Championship zone. To do this, I wrote directly to the organizers and was then interviewed on Skype.

I also managed to squeeze in half a day volunteering with the Re:co Symposium, brewing coffee for some of the most influential people in the coffee world. I applied for this after seeing a post on Instagram – the only requirement was that applicants were sociable and experienced baristas.

In short, all you have to do is apply. And, like any other job, to reach management level you just need to keep building up your experience and knowledge.


Volunteering will put a smile on your face.

My Experience at World of Coffee Dublin

At Re:Co, there were 10 of us volunteering in the “coffee breaks” – the pauses between the lectures. We were stationed in three zones: the cold brew zone, the brew bar, and the sensory zone.

The sensory zone was where the new World Coffee Research lexicon was presented. You could try flavors from the wheel as well as different Irish craft beers and milks. The latter was particularly interesting, since it allowed visitors to see that milk also brings its own profile to the coffee.

As for my experience at the Brewers Cup, I worked on everything from building the backstage preparation areas to brewing the competitors’ coffees as part of an open bar. As Assistant Manager, I had to help my manager Adam ensure that everything ran smoothly. We were kept busy with work and with training – both on the sponsored grinder and with the compulsory coffee.


You’re sure to learn something new when volunteering.

SEE ALSO: How to Organize a Latte Art Throwdown in 7 Steps

Why Volunteer?

There are so many reasons to volunteer. I met with the Champions of all the different countries. I saw the backstage training of teams and coaches. And I drank some of the best microlots in the world. That last one alone made it all worthwhile.

When I came back to St. Petersburg, I had new knowledge, skills, and motivation. I used that to hold a cupping where I work, Mad Espresso Team, in St. Petersburg. And I now feel even more inspired to help develop Russia’s coffee culture.

There’s no doubt in my mind that you, too, should volunteer.

world of coffee

Show what you’re made of – by volunteering at a coffee event.

Where You Can Volunteer

There are so many events and coffee organizations looking for volunteers. There’s SCAE, SCAA, and Barista Camp, not to mention the Coffee Internships facilitated by Perfect Daily Grind.

Keep an eye out on social media, and make sure you’re following the likes of World Coffee Events – remember, I saw the Re:co volunteer opportunity on Instagram. You can also register as a volunteer on the SCAA and SCAE UK websites.

And don’t forget that there are bound to be local events. These can be particularly useful for those of us who can’t take time off or travel long distances. I’m talking anything from your national barista championship to your favorite café’s monthly latte art throwdown. Ask around at coffee shops near you to find out about more opportunities.

Volunteering or just visiting, you’ll find that coffee events introduce you to new ways of thinking, new people, and new coffees. But if you volunteer, if you’re part of the team making this event happen, you’ll make even stronger relationships and walk away with new skillsets and a lot of happy memories.

Perfect Daily Grind

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