Back in October, Neumann Gruppe USA, in conjunction with the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity (CCRE), began accepting applications for their third class of NKG Pace, a paid yearlong training program providing hands-on experience to Black coffee professionals wanting to start a career in the green coffee trade. And now, after multiple rounds of interviews, the class of 2024-25 has been set.

Announced via press release, this year’s class underwent a rigorous assessment cycle, including the application, a letter of recommendation, multiple interviews, and a multi-part sensory assessment. And in the end, two individuals were chosen to continue on in the program. Jasmin Mitchell is an Army veteran and coffee professional currently based in Dallas, Texas who will join Atlas Coffee Importers in Edmonds, Washington. “My goal is to open a coffee concept that serves and promotes healing through coffee, plants and love (community). I’m passionate about the work that I do and have a deep love for those whom I have the pleasure of working with and serving,” Mitchell states. “Community means everything to me, as it has had a huge impact on my life post Covid.”

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Zion Brown’s coffee journey began at Pascal’s Coffeehouse in Gainesville, Florida and has recently taken him to Ethiopia and Rwanda as part of Cxffeeblack’s Barista Exchange Program. “This was a significant chapter in my coffee story. I traveled to the very origins of coffee, where I interacted with growers, learned about the histories and customs of Black Coffee culture prior to colonization, and worked with others to imagine its future restoration for the diaspora,” Brown says in the press release. He will be joining InterAmerican Coffee and Rothfos Corporation in Hoboken, N.J. Both Mitchell and Brown’s tenures begin May 1st.

Along with this year’s class, NKG Pace also announced that they will be opening up to the public one lecture a month to “increase the availability of free industry information that might aid under-represented professionals in advancing in the U.S. coffee industry.” The topics and dates for those lectures will be made public in the near future.

For more information on the class of 2024-25 or to learn more about the public lecture topics once available, visit NKG Pace’s official website.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.