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The Judging Panel

World Coffee Innovation Awards 2024

Erwin Wetzel

Erwin Wetzel

Erwin Wetzel is an Austrian and French national. Fluent in German, French, and English, with proficient Spanish skills, Wetzel holds Master's degrees in Political Science from the University of Innsbruck and European Political and Administrative Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.

Prior to joining EVA, Wetzel gained valuable insights from roles assisting Members of the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions, as well as working for the Federation of Austrian Municipalities. Since joining EVA in 2011, he has held various positions, including Regulatory Affairs Manager and Deputy Director, before assuming the role of Director General in 2014.

Wetzel's responsibilities encompass the general management of EVA, strategic communication leadership, and oversight of multiple committees and working groups, showcasing his commitment to advancing the vending and coffee service industries in Europe.

Director General, European Vending & Coffee Service Association

Rafaela Sousa

Rafaela Sousa

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

Francois Knopes

Francois Knopes

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

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