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Food & Health MEDIA VERSION »

Marshalltown Coffee Master

Marshalltown, Iowa
2:05PM    August 8, 2017    Janelle
MEDIA VERSION » Food & Health

Marshalltown Coffee Master


Emily Nixon, Starbucks barista at the Marshalltown, Iowa, Hy-Vee, had a memorable week in July. On Monday, she got married. On Tuesday, her oldest child turned 10. On Thursday, she was officially named a Starbucks Coffee Master.

The training took nearly seven months to complete. But Nixon is no stranger to coffee. She started with Hy-Vee’s Starbucks department in February 2016, but had previously worked for another local coffee shop. When her manager, Erin Dehl, told her about the Coffee Master certification, Nixon went for it.

The program takes time and dedication. Starbucks employees who wish to become Coffee Masters must complete coursework and a strict and specific exploration of Starbucks coffees. Coffee Masters are an elite group — there are just over 5,000 active Coffee Masters in Starbucks stores around the world.

In the middle of her training, Nixon competed in a barista district championship and won first place.

While Nixon was learning about coffee herself, she also enjoyed mentoring the other employees in the department to expand their passion and knowledge.

To celebrate Nixon’s Coffee Master designation, the Marshalltown Hy-Vee hosted a special event in which coworkers and customers were invited to share in her knowledge and passion for coffee. Attendees even included the Marshalltown Hy-Vee’s very first coffee customer from when Starbucks first opened at the location.

Nixon walked guests through a coffee tasting and discussed the unique points of Starbucks’ Single Origin East Timor Tatamailau coffee, and also a brand new coffee that’s not yet available for sale.  She discussed the ethical sourcing that Starbucks follows as well as steps in the coffee harvesting, processing and roasting methods. Nixon paired coffee with cheeses and chocolate and served coffee via French press to highlight the differences the brewing process has on coffee flavor and mouthfeel.  She also discussed the competition process at the recent barista championship and demonstrated her magnificent latte art.

“It has been wonderful to be able to take my knowledge and share it with co-workers and customers,” Nixon said. “I have been working with coffee for many years and my passion continues to grow. I love coffee and I love seeing customers’ interest expand as they learn more about it.”

Offering knowledge through passion is what Starbucks’ Coffee Master program is all about.