An Accidental Passion - A chat with SCA Trainer Annemarie Tiemes

In Annemarie’s first Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) certification course in Singapore eight years ago, she trained someone very close to us - Pam! Since then, Annemarie has come back every year to run the two day SCA course to certify trainers. Bettr Barista now has ten certified trainers!

Annemarie has a lifetime of teaching experience - here she shares her knowledge of coffee with students at the Bettr Barista Academy.

Annemarie has a lifetime of teaching experience - here she shares her knowledge of coffee with students at the Bettr Barista Academy.

A career in coffee may start with simply learning to pull an espresso, but it can eventually branch out into the vast and fascinating world of specialty coffee. Annemarie Tiemes, SCA certification trainer, travels more often than she stays at home - all for the love of coffee.

She didn’t start in coffee though. Most people end up in coffee serendipitously. “Nobody ever said: I knew it! I’ve always wanted to go into coffee.” Annemarie shares. “Everyone wants to be an astronaut or a doctor, and yet so many people make their career in coffee.” That’s why Bettr Barista students are all ages, some with previous lives spanning the corporate world. “They just say: Screw it - I’m going to follow my passion,” Annemarie continues. “It’s fun to hear the backstories.”

Another class with the Bettr Barista family and SCA Trainer Annemarie Tiemes.

Another class with the Bettr Barista family and SCA Trainer Annemarie Tiemes.

Annemarie’s last decade in coffee began in a hodgepodge of other careers: equestrian dressage, hospitality, and as a sommelier (wine specialist) in the Netherlands. As a “snobby wine specialist” Annemarie laughs, “people were less sharing - more pretentious.” She ended up taking a latte art course and realizing that she didn’t know anything about coffee! “It’s so much more diverse,” Annemarie says. In comparison to the world of wine, “if your bottle is good, it’s good. But in coffee, everything can be influenced in so many ways.”

Knowing nobody, Annemarie volunteered at the World Championships in 2009. At the end of the event, she knew everybody.

She went on to become a judge, the national SCA coordinator for the Netherlands, education coordinator, and now the field development director with a team of 11 people. “I wouldn’t know what else to do with my life,” says Annemarie.

“With coffee, every step of the way is important. No matter who you talk to or where you are, if you start talking about coffee, you have a connection.” -Annemarie Tiemes

The magical thing about coffee is the way it connects people, no matter where you are. It was this unique, universal, and binding element of coffee that solidified Annemarie’s career. And the people are much friendlier than in wine. “There’s always this passion and the willingness to share. The moment you start talking, you can talk for hours!”

Students at the academy catching a coffee break during Annemarie’s course.

Students at the academy catching a coffee break during Annemarie’s course.

That magic is what we brew up at Bettr Barista. Take a widely consumed beverage, create a community, and build skills for self-empowerment. Annemarie cites Bettr Barista as her first interaction with coffee as a vehicle for social impact. Visiting Bettr Barista year after year “is coming home. The coffee industry in Singapore is now at a very mature level, and I’ve seen Bettr grow so much over these 8 years.” She also mentions barista training in prisons in the UK and the story of a homeless man who received assistance to become certified - now he trains other homeless people and provides micro-finance loans for them to acquire a coffee cart and start working anywhere.

Students at the academy absorbing SCA content from trainer Annemarie Tiemes.

Students at the academy absorbing SCA content from trainer Annemarie Tiemes.

Are you considering applying for a course? Annemarie says go for it: “Step into the world of coffee. It has the possibility to give you so much in your life and make it so much richer by connecting to all these other people. It’s amazing that one drink can do that.”

Take a look at our courses and score your chance to learn from our renowned trainer Annemarie during our next SCA certification class.