This year, Hugo Enrique Flores Laguna is attending Boston Expo as a volunteer instructor, teaching within the seven different Coffee Skills Program courses on offer.
SUSIE KEALY draws a spotlight to one of the many volunteers who help make Expo possible. Today, it’s Roastmaster and authorized sca trainer, hugo enrique flores laguna.
Hailing from Mexico City, Roastmaster Hugo brings with them a rich experience from their comprehensive time in the coffee industry. A journey begun within a coffee machine factory now extends across the world, with all this experience only increasing their love of roasting, cupping, teaching, and competing. Hugo is excited to volunteer this year as an instructor “because it allows me to know the work of my colleagues from other countries and to share my experiences with them, in addition to being able to offer the same learning experience at this level in my country.”
Hugo started their career in coffee at a young age – not on bar, but working in a factory that built and tested coffee machines and roasters. “It was my beginning in the world of coffee… I only knew the basics of coffee, I did not know about coffee varieties, the correct process to roast, I did not know anything at all!” Despite not knowing much back then, Hugo now holds the title of Roastmaster at Etrusca Commercial SA de CV, a coffee processing company located in Mexico’s capital.
While working as a technician at Etrusca, Hugo’s first encounter with specialty coffee occurred just over three years ago, where by chance they was asked to roast. It was then that a mentor saw and encouraged a move: “It was at that moment that my boss Araceli Garcia, quality control manager saw something in me, and then decided together with the director Arturo Hernandez to leave me at the Etrusca Roastery. And it was thanks to his vision that he began to promote my training as a roaster.”
From there, Hugo began a journey of education and attending a variety of workshops around the world, eventually becoming an SCA Roasting Instructor and Q Arabica Grader. Through these channels they also obtained SCA certifications as an Authorized SCA Trainer in Green Coffee, Barista, Sensory, and Brew, with the guidance of instructors Kim Ta and Annemarie Tiemes. Hugo says all their passion for coffee has even changed how the family drink it at home, who now revel in testing out different cafeteria methods to “try the different nuances” – “now without sugar, of course!”
“We have to face up to the changes that are coming, and only by working together all the countries can give sustainability to the field and therefore to coffee.”
On the subject of family, Flores states that their children, Amairani and Rodrigo, inspires them most in life. “They have been my engine, my pride, and my inspiration so that I always try to move forward. And since a few months ago another great inspiration has been added to my life, my grandson Mateo.” Hugo spends most of his days off at home resting with the family when not working or traveling, which for Hugo, “is an enriching experience, and if you add to that you do what you like, you share your love and passion for coffee with people from all over the world… It's simply wonderful.”
This is not the first year that Hugo has attended Expo, last year volunteering in the Introduction to Coffee course, where they found it amazing to share what they had learned. In previous years, Hugo has attended multiple SCA events, but pinpoints their first time attending the Roasters Guild Retreat in Wisconsin as their favorite specialty coffee community memory. There, they had the chance to meet with many different roasters, allowing them to see the scope of specialty coffee, and see the passion that all these professionals applied to their daily work. Like many others, Hugo sees the industry constantly evolving and shifting, but feels there is still a lot more to be done. “The specialty coffee industry has grown a lot in recent years, but we still have a long way to go, we have to make team and awareness with each link in the production chain. We have to face up to the changes that are coming, and only by working together all the countries can give sustainability to the field and therefore to coffee.”
As for what’s next? “My next professional goal would be to become Q Robusta Grader. And my personal goal is to win the Mexican Roasting Competition this year.”
SUSIE KEALY is a freelance communications and marketing professional based in Berlin.
The SCA was built by dedicated volunteers with a vision of an organization that promoted the values of specialty coffee and community. The contributions of SCA volunteers can be seen in the various leadership groups that support the mission of the association and in the thousands who give their time at SCA trade shows and community events every year. Please join us in thanking the many volunteers who make this year’s Expo possible!