Ep. 092 – What Goes Into A Quality Cup of Coffee with Weber Stibolt, Quality Assurance Specialist at Eight O’Clock Coffee

Weber Stibolt contacted me on our My Food Job Rocks facebook page and I got him on the show.

(by the way, we have one)

He is a fanatic in both the coffee realm and the quality realm and I learned a ton about what makes coffee great.

Weber shares his passion for agriculture and food science even sharing how he got into food science and how he’ll be teaching the next generation.

Being of a very technical mindset, you will also learn some amazing things, such as the art of coffee tasting, how to be analytical and critical of your own work, and why communicating with your peers, is the most important skill in the world.

About Weber

Weber Stibolt is a Quality Assurance Specialist for Eight O’ Clock coffee based in the Washington, D.C. area. Eight O’ Clock is a 150-year-old brand born out of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P), a chain of now-defunct supermarkets. When A&P was struggling financially in the early 2000s, the Eight O’ Clock coffee brand was spun off and later purchased by Tata Global Beverages. TGB is a India-based company with a vast array of tea and coffee products under various brands across the world – a perfect fit for a global product like coffee.

At Eight O’ Clock Coffee, the three-person quality team oversees the food safety and quality of 20 million pounds of coffee annually. In this role, Weber plays a large part in the day-to-day operations of the facility by monitoring both the coffee and its packaging. He works with the production team, mechanics, and the rest of the management staff by communicating quality updates and addressing issues that may arise. In addition, Weber designs and conducts experiments with the ultimate goal of re-evaluating specifications to make the best finished product possible.

Weber’s interests while studying Food Science at the University of Delaware primarily resided in food safety. His collegiate internships working with produce food safety at the farm level have launched him into the role he is in today. He is the Alternate HACCP Coordinator at Eight O’ Clock Coffee and is responsible for many programs that the food safety plan at the facility is built upon.

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Episode Highlights

-The different Coffee Beans Industry Uses
-How Weber got into food science
-An indepth analysis on how to taste coffee
-Acrylamide in Coffee

Question Summary

Sentence or less: I’m the Willy Wonka of Coffee. I’m a Food Scienitst and work for coffee and I get I’m a Barista
East Coast
What is the Niche for Eight o’ clock coffee?: Our niche is to be decent coffee. McDonalds, Starbucks, Dunkin
Official Job Title: Quality Assurance Specialist – Specifically Packaging, and Food Safety roles
Favorite thing about your job: I like sending great products to people
Quick Tip: In most manufacturing, Production and Quality are in the same vein, in Eight O Clock, we are separate and work cooperatively
How did you get to where you are today?:
University of Delaware had a Food Science Exploration Day at the end of the day, I wanted to go into Food Science
How did you get your first job?:  Maryland isn’t really known for food. Ended up working with a recruiting chose between the West and Maryland
What is the most important skill you need for your job?: Being analytical and always question everything. People in quality sometimes get into a rut. You have to analyze even your own work to become better the next day. It’ll help you immensely
How do you quantitatively approve good coffee?: Good seal integrity. We use both tensile strength testing and  people
My Food Job Rocks: It brings me a lot of joy giving out great products to people
Do you drink coffee?: Yes, and I do sensory testing, which I love. Example: Columbia versus Original
Starbucks’s cupping method

The cupping method
Ceramic cup, level out a certain amount of coffee, let it sit, have specialized spoons, and vigourously slurp it up. You have to properly aerate it to get the full flavor of the coffee (like wine). You have to be as obnoxious about slurping as possible

Same thing about Olive oil
What would be your dream job title: Food Scientist for NASA
Food Trends and Technologies: Automation. We have installed 3 new case packers. Machine breakdown sucks
Biggest Problem in the Food Industry: Food Education. More and more people want to know what’s in our food but there’s a lot of misinformation.
Who is doing a good job educating the consumer?: Domino’s Foods. Our farmers know the best for these cows
Trix natural colors switching back to artifical
Coffee complaints: one of my tasks is to review complaints. A lot of people inquire if their coffee is GMO but there’s no such thing as GMO coffee
Quick Tip: You will die faster overdosing on caffeine than acrylamide
Favorite Quote: Insanity is doing something over and over again and expect a different results. For quality, challenge the process.
Is it hard to invoke change in Quality?: Yes, but you should still try to keep on changing things
Favorite Book: The last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Imagineer at Disney Land
Favorite Kitchen Item: Hand blender
Any Advice for Food Industry? Write a good cover letter
What do you think schools should teach you more in the industry?: As someone in quality, I wish I remembered more about statistics. Take writing classes and learn how to communicate effectively. Intro to business class.
Public speaking experience: Adam – Podcasting. Weber – 4H Club

Other Links

University of Delaware
Donuts use Premium Coffee. We use Arabica beans
4H Club- House Program. Weber spent 10 years in the program
Sodium Alginate Beads
Good Eats
TIC Gums
Lab Support
California lawyer wants to label coffee as a carcinogen

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