A journey to a career in coffee

Recently hired as a food technologist at S&D Coffee & Tea, Tori Foody’s path to a career in coffee includes internship and study abroad opportunities that provided a unique approach to her education.

These events built on each other to increase her knowledge and interest in the coffee industry, and she will continue to capitalize on them in her new career.

Fall 2012: starts at the University of Georgia (UGA)

Foody came to UGA from her hometown of Tampa, Florida, with an interest in food science but without a clear career path. The introductory class she took as a freshman confirmed that food science was the major for her.

A food science degree emphasizes science, technology and engineering, and although there are many career paths from this degree, Foody was most interested in product development.

Summer 2015: internship with 1000 Faces Coffee

To gain hands-on food science experience, Foody took an internship with 1000 Faces Coffee in Athens, Georgia.

Here, she experienced many different aspects of an independent coffee business, including:

  • small-scale roasting
  • the difference between brewing methods and the impact on flavor
  • cupping coffee
  • delivering coffee to the end user
  • creating espresso-based beverages

Fall 2015: study abroad opportunity in Costa Rica

With her increasing interest in coffee, Foody spent her Thanksgiving break in Costa Rica for the “Coffee: From Bean to Cup” study abroad program, a short, intensive program led by a professor in the department of food science and technology.

Here, she learned about growing, harvesting and processing coffee at origin and the challenges associated with these practices. The program included touring small and large operations and lectures on the history, health aspects, sensory properties, chemistry and technologies of coffee.

“Being in Costa Rica during harvesting season gave me a new-found respect for what goes into a cup of coffee — from the care for the cherries on the coffee trees and the individuals working on the farms to the science behind the entire process,” said Foody.

Spring 2016: graduates from UGA

Foody graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in food science and focused on finding a career in coffee that incorporates her interests and education with a company whose values align with hers. This search led her to S&D.

Fall 2016: begins work at S&D

Foody recently started as a food technologist, working on product development for core coffee and tea products.

“I will be using my food science background, bringing an analytical mindset to the lab every day, coupled with creative thinking — which is key in product development,” said Foody.

One of her first projects involves working with cold brew coffee. “I was exposed to cold brew a little at 1000 Faces but to see it on a larger scale and working with it in the lab has been the most exciting thing I’ve worked on so far at S&D.”

To learn more about S&D’s product development capabilities, take a look at the Extracts & Ingredients page. For more information on careers at S&D and to view open positions, visit the Career Center.

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