All Grown Up: CTG’s New Education Program

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It almost reads like a poorly written romantic comedy: two people meet in a taxi, realize they have a lot of things in common, the conversation carrying over to a bar in the airport.

From left to right: Shad Biaz, Hylan Joseph, and Mansi Chokshi at the All Guilds meeting this past March in Ann Arbor, US.


HYLAN JOSEPH shares a status update on the exciting growth of the Coffee Technicians Guild (CTG) over the past year.

Soon a relationship is formed and then, a year later, a baby: the CTG. Lots of people are invited to the baby shower, a community to help the baby grow. Throw me and Shad back into the story, remove some of the romantic intention – that’s pretty much how the CTG was first founded!

Our main goal: to legitimize what it means to be a Caffeine Service Tech.  We wanted to implement education protocol, training, and guidance; to build communication networks for technicians. But we had almost no clue how to get there. Enter the SCA: it’s a long story, but I’ll keep it short. After Ric approved our proposal, Mansi Chokshi (one of the most humble and talented professionals with whom I’ve worked) and the SCA staff she identified to help us make this all work (Christine Kellerman, Danny Pinell, and Chris Buck) helped us to plan and build our guild with past and present Leadership helping to guiding its growth.

This bring us to today, right now: the CTG has gone from 41 initial members to over 250 members worldwide; hosted two large Summits and 11 local Gearhead events; created valuable content for our community (it gets reposted on Daily Coffee News regularly!); and our Slack channel has over 125 active members. My favorite story about our Slack community in particular: an on-site tech posted in the group about a problem he was having with a machine and, within ten minutes, seven people from across the globe jumped in to help him get it back up and running.

With a lot of help and A LOT of good coffee, we achieved almost everything we sought out to create in that first meeting, including the “meat and potatoes” of the Guild: education and training. Lorenzo Roncali, our education committee, and Ben Helt (SCA Education) have worked tirelessly to accomplish a minor miracle to get the Coffee Technicians Skills Program (CTSP) off the ground.

The program will offer a Foundation, Intermediate and Professional course in each of these six modules: Coffee Machines, Hydraulics, Electrical & Electronics, Cleaning & Preventive Maintenance, Operations Management and Coffee Preparation. Each module has a content creator group consisting of volunteers working with peers to develop curriculum, written exams, practical exams, resource materials, course summaries, venue requirements, pre-course checklists and more. Much of the work has already been completed to develop each of these modules, but there is still more to do – and some exciting milestones ahead as we plan to beta test two of the modules at our upcoming CTG Summit in Milan this May! 

 We are an organization that thrives on crowd-sourcing: we have members who have been doing this since the days of the model T, Sabre-tooth tigers, and manual lever machines, but we also have new techs and career-changing baristas who are cutting their teeth on exciting new technology. We’d love to have you join our team and contribute to making the CTG a great place to learn, find mentors, and hear great stories about crazy espresso machine repairs!

 It’s exciting and one day soon, when I tell people that I’m an espresso service tech, they will not look at me blankly trying to figure out what I do. The Guild of the future will have done a great job in training and legitimizing our work – then we take over the world!

Become a Content Creator

The CTG’s content creator groups aim to have a representative balance of our global community, including geographic location, age, gender, career position, subject matter expertise, and training experience. Members will be recognized in several ways, including attribution of authorship; listings in online and printed materials; signage at events; and an annual badge program noting their years of service. Participants should expect to give 10-15 hours/month, especially in the genesis stage of the program.

 We are currently recruiting content creators in each of the six modules. If you are interested in learning more, contact Ben Helt at, or chat to your friendly #CTG leaders here at Expo!



HYLAN JOSEPH is a member of the CTG Leadership Council with over 30 years’ experience in specialty coffee, technical service, customer service, and management.