Wake up and smell the...


The winners of the Good Food Award for coffee will be distinguished by exemplary flavor – sweet, clean, well developed body, balanced acidity and phenomenal aromatics. To qualify for entry, roasters and coffee farmers must emphasize fairness and transparency from seed to cup. This year’s entry criteria seeks to accommodate the enormous cultural diversity of coffee production.


The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the coffee community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the coffee standards are and who will be judging this year.



Alex McClean Egan

Head Roaster, Nirvana Soul Coffee

Alex has been in coffee for over 10 years, and roasting for 5 of those. Currently they work as the Head Roaster for Nirvana Soul Coffee in San Jose, California. Alex spends their time visiting new coffee shops in every city they visit and hanging out with their dog. They believe coffee is connective and cannot wait to connect with all of the judges.

Michelle Fleming

Head Roaster, Equator Coffees

Michelle started their coffee roasting career 10 years ago, at Thread Coffee in Baltimore before making the move to the Bay Area. They are the Head Roaster at Equator Coffees, and are a certified Q-Arabica Grader. They believe that coffee is at it’s highest quality when it leaves the farm, and that a roaster cannot add quality, only seek to preserve and highlight it. Having previously participated in judging the GFA Coffee category they are thrilled to step into the role of co-chair.


In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, coffee entries must meet the following standards:

  • Roasted in the USA or US territories.
  • Traceable back to the producer (or producers) at the farm or cooperative level.
  • Sourced in such a way that price premiums meet or exceed Fair Trade minimums relative to the world commodity price, either through direct trade or through publicly stated policies and in-place processes.*
  • Sourced from farms or cooperatives where:
    • There is an emphasis on pursuing sustainable agricultural practices including water conservation and minimizing or eliminating the use of synthetic inputs.**
    • Transparent, documented practices ensure fair and humane work standards for all laborers. **
  • Made by a roaster that:
    • Prioritizes waste management through water conservation, composting and recycling.
    • Regularly checks roasting air quality. Roasters should be maintaining and cleaning their stacks regularly, and making sure their afterburner (where applicable and dependent on volume of roasting annually) is keeping temperatures high enough to incinerate particulates.
    • Promotes a safe and enjoyable work environment by implementing policies and programs such as wage transparency, offering development and learning opportunities to staff and sponsoring or participating in social or environmental projects.***
  • Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity and inclusion in all levels of their business,**** as exemplified through integrating these  practices:
    • Creating a safe and healthy work environment where employees receive a fair wage, are safe and respected at work and have access to the resources they need to keep themselves healthy.
    • Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
    • Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
    • For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.****

*Prices determined based on C market (min $1.40) plus Fair trade (+ $.20) and Organic ($.30) pricing.
**These commitments can be shown by being third party certified to meet the standards of the following certification programs: NOP Organic, SMBC Shade Grown, Fair Trade (FTUSA/Fairtrade International), Rainforest Alliance or by providing further details regarding the farm, estate, associations or cooperatives in which you source from.
***Such as 1% for the Planet, B Corp, GMO-Free Project, Fair Trade or other local organizations focused on environmental and social responsibility.
****Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.

Brewing Specs

To accommodate remote tastings, judging will happen in two phases this year. 

Round 1:

  • Bay Area coffee lovers and professionals join as judges to taste each coffee. 
  • Coffees are brewed at home on personal brew devices.
  • Scoring is out of 30 points, with 5 points possible for each category: Fragrance/Aroma, Flavor/Aftertaste, Acidity, Body, Balance, and Overall Impressions.
  • Top 6 coffees from each region move on to round two.

Each judge will receive 5 anonymized coffee samples to brew at home. To help judges prepare for their tasting, we ask that they view the following videos on Brew Variables, Why Grind Matters, and best practices for Infusion and Immersion brewing. Although these brewing guides and recipes are provided, there are no specific guidelines for preparation. Judges are encouraged to brew coffees as they would normally at home. 

Judges will submit scores and tasting notes through the Good Food Awards website. The scoresheet will be very simple, with judges evaluating Fragrance/aroma, Flavor/Aftertaste, Acidity, Body, Balance, and Overall Impressions, assigning a score out of 5 points for each category for a final score of 30 points possible.  

This round is open to the public, meaning that although we will be targeting coffee professionals in the Bay Area to participate as judges, people from adjacent industries like food, cocktails, and wine, as well as Good Food Guild members and even coffee hobbyists and consumers are welcome to join. To account for the lack of calibration, we will ensure that multiple judges taste each coffee sample. 

Round 2:

  • Multiple qualified judges taste each coffee
  • Coffees are evaluated through cupping, with protocols in place for water, grind size, and water to coffee ratio
  • Using the Roasters Guild Roast Evaluation form to select 3 winners from each region 

In the second round of judges, we will enlist qualified coffee professionals with experience in cupping and coffee analysis to evaluate the top 6 coffees from each region. Each judge will be given a list of supplies to acquire in advance of the tasting to ensure that they are following SCA cupping protocols, including water recipe, grind size, vessel size and type, and coffee to water ratio. These judges will receive anonymized coffees in the mail prior to the tasting day. Judging pods will then taste together and deliberate immediately after tasting. As in previous years, we will use the Roasters Guild Roast Evaluation form. Each coffee will be tasted by multiple judges. Of the 6 high scorers from each region, 3 will become winners.

2024 Judges

Olivia Morris

Coffee Consultant

Valerian Hrala

Campus Director, Boot Coffee

Taylor Sullivan

Green Coffee Quality Specialist, Farmer Brothers

Mar Childers

Founder, Tanbrown Coffee

Kat Natividad

Coffee Roaster, Verve Coffee Roasters

Michelle Anariba

Logistics Supervisor, Covoya Specialty Coffee

Christina Minju

CoFounder & CEO, Sāe Coffee Studio

Akaash Saini

Sales Manager, La Marzocco

Priscilla Chu

Production Manager, Apprentice Roaster, Nirvana Soul Coffee

Woo Jeon

Head Roaster, Hex Coffee

Trevor Szewczyk

Head Roaster, Rival Bros

Felix Felix

Director of Retail Operations, Dune Coffee

Danny Toro

Trainer and Wholesale Coordinator, Greater Goods Roasting

Zoe Kurjiaka

Director of Coffee, OZO Coffee

Sheli Maciel

Maintenance Mechanic, Allegro Coffee Company

Sharon Fung

Barista, Blue Bottle

Ming Wood

Founder/Head Roaster, Moonwake Coffee Roasters

Francisco Flores

Director of Coffee, Cafe Unido USA

Max Phills

Coffee Director, Loveless Coffees