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Hospitality Grad, Starbucks Roaster, Returns to Campus

Shawn SideyShawn Sidey, a 1996 Pennsylvania College of Technology graduate and a supervisor at Starbucks Coffee’s York roasting plant, returned to campus Monday to talk to classes in the School of Hospitality.

Sidey joined Starbucks almost two years ago and works in Automated Coffee Roasting Systems, for which he supervises roasting for the third shift. Sidey is direct supervisor of 10 employees and ensures that the plant’s automated system creates the correct blends, which sometimes means tasting the resulting product.

He is now taking Starbucks’ eight-month Coffee Masters training program, through which he must taste all of the varietals and blends of both Starbucks and Seattle’s Best coffees and score 90 percent or more on a series of written exams.

Prior to joining Starbucks coffee, Sidey’s first job after graduating from Penn College with a degree in food and hospitality management was executive chef in a restaurant near his hometown. He then worked for the University of Maryland, catering for VIP guests and performers, before breaking into the coffee business. He worked first for a company called Brew Ha Ha, where he managed three of the chain’s espresso cafes before he became a roast master for Morning Star Coffee. From Morning Star, he moved on to the Cornerstone Coffeehouse in Danville, where he provided demonstrations, before joining Starbucks.

The difference, he said, was shocking as he moved from a company that roasted 110,000 pounds of coffee a year to roasting the same amount in an eight-hour shift. Starbucks Coffee has almost 94,000 employees worldwide and was ranked No. 3 on Fortune’s magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For 2005. The York plant employs 310 people, roasts 2 million pounds of coffee each week, holds 80 million 150-pound bags of coffee beans in its warehouse, and is responsible for about 60 percent of Starbucks Coffee’s worldwide production.

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