One of the best things about Barista Guild of Europe’s CoLab: Antwerp programming was undoubtedly the Wednesday morning session with SCAA’s Science Manager, Emma Sage, who lead attendees through a taste-buds-on deep dive of the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon. Whilst technology hasn’t developed to the point where we can share sensorial experiences via the technowebs, we can share with you Emma’s introduction to World Coffee Research, the International Multi-Location Variety Trial, and the sensory lexicon they’ve developed to be able to be able to objectively measure—and thus improve—desirable coffee qualities in a world of climate change and disease.

World Coffee Research—and the important work they undertake—is a testament to the positive power of collaboration. We hope you are inspired by Emma’s talk to continue to collaborate, whether at events like BGE’s CoLab or within the new unified specialty coffee organisation!


Emma Sage is the Science Manager at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), where she promotes research, acts as the primary liaison between science and industry, and serves as a scientific interpreter for coffee professionals. In this position, she has also investigated a variety of scientific topics relevant to the specialty coffee industry by way of original research projects, content for pathway classes, invited lectures, special reports and literature reviews, and regular contributions to the SCAA Magazine. She also serves as the World Coffee Research Industry Liaison. She holds a M.S. in Botany from the University of Wyoming, a B.A. in Ecology, and holds a post-graduate certificate from the Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program at the University of California, Davis. She has experience with a variety of laboratory and field research projects in plant physiology, biology, ecology, enology, and climate change science which has given her a solid foundation to apply to coffee. She has always been committed to science education and is dedicated to acting as an effective resource for the specialty coffee industry.