When Barista Magazine went looking for the best coffee professionals to follow on Instagram, Crimson Cup’s Education and Sustainability Director rose to the top. In “The 10 Best Coffee Pros to Follow on Instagram Right Now,” writer Erin Meister called out Brandon Bir’s “contagious enthusiasm” and the “sheer joy he finds in coffee and life” as reasons to follow @BrandonBir.
Brandon travels more than 25,000 miles each year to forge relationships with coffee growers in far-flung destinations such as Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Papua New Guinea and Peru. His Instagram feed flows with stunning images of coffee, coffee growers and coffee country as well as more technical details of the coffee craft from his daily grind at Crimson Cup’s Innovation Lab.
“Brandon’s pure talent and zeal for coffee have been instrumental to Crimson Cup’s growth over the past seven years, “said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “It’s exciting to share in the new coffees, drinks and knowledge he brings home from his travels or develops at our Innovation Lab.”
Describing himself as “a coffee and tea professional with a passion for sustainability and international community development,” Brandon said he hopes his newest accolade brings more attention to coffee and the people who grow it. “To touch coffee on the farm, and again in the U.S., is one of the more gratifying parts of my job,” he said. “I feel privileged to work with so many people behind the bean and am excited to share their stories.”
When not trekking up a mountain on a remote farm or developing new drinks at the Innovation Lab in Columbus, Brandon can be found representing Crimson Cup at a growing number of stateside coffee events. Most recently, he was one of five top judges at the Golden Bean North America coffee roasting competition and served up coffee mocktails to chefs at the Culinary Vegetable Institute’s Roots Innovate 2017 conference.
In his role as Education Director, Brandon and his team develop coffee education courses for both coffee enthusiasts and coffee professionals. Through our 7 Steps to Success coffee franchise alternative program, Crimson Cup helps more than a dozen independently owned coffee shops open each year. The program includes a full range of barista training as well as guidance in everything from choosing a location and hiring staff to marketing and operating profitably.
Brandon has honed his craft through intensive coffee education. In 2016, he became one of only 3,500 coffee professionals worldwide to be licensed as a coffee Q Grader and earned an SCA Coffee Taster Certificate. A certified Specialty Coffee Association instructor, he was one of the first 31 graduates of the new SCA Coffee Buyer Pathway and holds Level 2 Certification from the Specialty Tea Institute.