Darrin Daniel Appointed Executive Director of Cup of Excellence

Darrin Daniel unanimously voted in as head of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence.

Darrin Daniel, formerly of Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Allegro Coffee, has just been named the Executive Director of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE), the organization that runs the Cup of Excellence (CoE) competition and auction.

Darrin, far left, will assume the position vacated by co-founder Susie Spindler.

“Darrin’s a great choice. He has decades of green coffee experience, has bought coffee and worked with farmers around the globe and has a unique understanding of the challenges that both farmers and roasters face when focusing on premium coffees,” said Susie Spindler, co-founder and interim director for ACE prior to Darrin’s appointment. “He happens to be completely connected in the industry having built hundreds if not thousands of relationships and friendships over the years. But most important for me is that he truly cares and is honestly passionate about Cup of Excellence,” she shares.

The CoE is famed for highlighting the hard work of farmers in countries all over the world through a countrywide competition that ends in a global auction. “ACE is a completely unique, global organization that exists to create opportunity for farmers by connecting people, discovering and showcasing coffees of exceptional quality, and driving the value of quality to new heights,” says chair of the board of ACE Geoff Watts. “The positive impact that ACE and the Cup of Excellence program has had on our industry over the last decade under the guidance of its founder Susie Spindler is immeasurable.”

Darrin, left, featured with Aida Batlle and Tim Hill of Counter Culture, has worked with the CoE for years, as a judge and as a green buyer.

“We knew that we needed someone with a personal commitment to supporting farmer advancement who was aligned with the mission of ACE and could help navigate with both instinct and the kind of insight that can only be gained from long-term experience working closely with both farmers and the marketplace,” Geoff shares about the unanimous decision to appoint Darrin. “Darrin brings decades of coffee industry experience and big respect for the Cup of Excellence program with him and we think he’s an great fit for the organization who can help it continue to clear new pathways for farmers to find success and roasters to connect with quality.”

“It is with great honor that I assume the role of Executive Director for the Alliance for Coffee Excellence,” Darrin said to Barista Magazine. “I am thrilled to be leading the famous program Cup of Excellence and all that it brings to the specialty coffee spectrum. Since my first experience as an International Judge in Honduras in 2005, Cup of Excellence has had a special place in my heart and coffee career. I am overjoyed to be able to lead and guide this wonderful organization’s future as we move towards expanding the original vision began in 1999. I look forward to reaching out to each and every member in order to learn more about your needs. I am excited to continue the legacy, advocate for growing our country partners, steer and evolve the program and, most importantly, serve the farmers to which none of this would be possible.”

Darrin will carry out the initiatives of the ACE, along with pushing forward new projects that include strengthening relationships between roasters and farmers.

Darrin looks forward to tackling upcoming projects in his new role. “We look to expand and enhance CoE as we move into 2017. We’ve a few exciting developments we hope to announce soon and with my coming on board, there’s a sense of further developing our farmer to roaster relationships via the competition and other avenues.”

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Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at ashley@baristamagazine.com.