The Judging Panel
World Coffee Innovation Awards 2023
Erwin Wetzel, an Austrian and French national, joint the European Vending & Coffee Service Association (EVA) in 2011 as Public Affairs Manager and then became Director General in January 2014. In his role he supervises various committees and working groups, and helps shape the organisation into a leading voice for the vending and coffee service sector in Europe. He studied Political Science and EU Affairs at the University of Innsbruck, Austria and at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Prior to his function within the EVA, he worked as an MEP assistant in the European Parliament and as Head of Office for the Austrian Federation of Municipalities
Director General, European Vending & Coffee Service Association
Rafaela is the assistant editor at FoodBev Media and Refreshment magazine, a publication that focuses on the water, coffee and vending industries. Rafaela enjoys keeping up to date with the latest trends and developments in the food and beverage sector, particularly plant-based and functional applications.
From bakery to botanicals, plant-based to packaging, functional foods to flavours, Rafaela has written about it all! She is excited to see products that fall within the milk alterative category, as well as flavouring innovations and products.
Editor, FoodBev Media
Connie Blumhardt is founder and publisher of the award-winning Roast magazine. Connie has spent over 30 years in magazine publishing and has worked in the coffee industry for the past 26 years. She possesses a wealth of knowledge regarding magazine publishing, marketing, design and photography. On a daily basis, Connie connects 1000’s of roasters bringing together the coffee community.
Founder/Publisher, Roast magazine
François Knopes is the manager of The Independent Coffee Lab in London, and a freelance coffee quality consultant. He is, alongside his two siblings, the 4th generation of coffee roasters in his family that have been roasting since 1936.
Fascinated by the speciality coffee movement after watching the 2006 World Barista Championship in Bern, he started roasting that same year at the age of 19. He has since then delivered well over 20.000 commercial batches and trained countless baristas and coffee roasters. With 20 years of experience in the coffee industry, François has extensive knowledge as a green coffee buyer, roaster, barista, café manager, business owner, coffee competitor and coffee quality consultant. Apart from many years of work within his family business in Belgium and Luxembourg, he has also worked with a variety of renowned coffee companies, including Taylor St Baristas and Perky Blenders Coffee Roasters in the UK.
Manager / Coffee Quality Advisor, The Independent Coffee Lab
Jessica has worked in the Food and Beverage industry for 15 years across a variety of roles, each one helping to guide and build her in-depth understanding and knowledge of all things drink related.
Her work with MONIN has seen her develop hundreds of beverages for National Account chains across the coffee sector and the On-Trade.
Since joining the MONIN Beverage Expert team, she works with customers across the globe and helps MONIN distributor partners with training, trend research and custom menu creation, delivering quality and continent at scale.
She excels at identifying current and future trends, recognising the significance of consumer demands and delivers those insights to decision makers in the industry with confidence.
Prior to MONIN, Jessica worked for various drinks brands for 7 years and holds many years of experience working On Trade in the Beverage industry, to which she credits her fascination and approach to innovation today.