Vice president of Seattle-Based Zoka Coffee Roasters & Tea Co., Tracy Allen, has become one of only six recipient of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) Mose Drachman Sales and Service Award. Allen, who is based in Kansas City, Mo., received the award last night at the SCAA’s annual membership reception in New York City.

According to SCAA Executive Director, Ric Rhinehart, the Mose Drachman Award is given out infrequently because recipients must be nominated by a customer along with an essay. “It’s one thing to submit someone’s name,” Rhinehart said in a prepared statement. “It’s quite another to write a 500-word essay explaining why you think that person is deserving of recognition. A customer really needs to believe a company or individual is deserving to commit to writing an essay.” The Mose Drachman Award, which is named after a legendary coffee salesman who worked for the Arbuckle Brothers Coffee Co. 100 years ago, was created by SCAA in 2001 to recognize the sales people upon whom the specialty coffee industry depends.

Although the Mose Drachman Award can be awarded to individuals or companies, six of the seven recipients have been individuals, reflecting the fact that the specialty coffee industry is as much about relationships as quality, according to Rhinehart. He also added, “One of the things that differentiates the specialty coffee sector from others is that buying is still personal. Whether you’re a specialty coffee consumer buying a cup at a coffeehouse or a roaster buying thousands of pounds from a farm you visited last harvest, the interaction tends to still be passionate and personal.”

Tracy Allen is Vice President and Owner of Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company, serves as secretary/treasurer for the SCAA board of directors, has served as chair of the rules and regulations committee for the World Barista Championships and as chairman of the United States Barista Championships.