Boot Coffee Team Members

Willem Boot
Willem BootCEO / Lead Consultant

Coffee captured me at a very early age. Since I was 14 years old I have worked as a roaster, cupper, roastery owner and in 1998 I founded Boot Coffee. My mission: advising roasting companies and coffee producers on quality improvement strategies. Over the years we developed an impressive portfolio of clients, from super-quality specialty start-ups to renowned coffee producing countries. My passion: the Geisha coffee farms I started in Panama and my quest to find the mother-source of Geisha in Ethiopia. My pride: winning first place at the prestigious “Best of Panama” coffee competition (2014).

Valerian Hrala
Valerian HralaeLearning / Media Consultant
I am originally from Central Europe where I studied political science and worked with human rights in Slovakia and the former Yugoslavia. In 2001 I started Green Plantation Coffee, offering single origin coffee in Slovakia. For more than 10 years I have been working, living and writing about coffee. With the Boot team I developed the first online coffee education project
Marcus Young
Marcus YoungCampus Director and Senior Consultant
My love of coffee began as a teenager while spending nights in coffee shops socializing and tasting coffee with friends. 18 years ago I became hooked on coffee. While working on a masters degree in education I also developed a passion for training. I have shared my experience as an SCA Certified Instructor, author of various coffee industry publications, I lectured about coffee, and volunteered as a world barista competition judge. My passion for tasting led me to work as a barista, as a coffee importer and finally as a quality advisor helping Rwandan farmers bring their specialty coffee to market. I co-founded a micro-roastery, have sourced green coffees, and developed blends for major roasting companies.
Kees Kraakman
Kees KraakmanEuropean Lead Trainer
I started my coffee career at a young age. My initial coffee mentor was Jacob Boot, father of Willem Boot, who taught me about cupping and roasting techniques. For 11 years I have worked for The Golden Coffee Box, a small coffee importer and coffee roastery owned by Barend Boot (Willem’s brother). Over the past years I have worked as a trainer and consultant with roasting companies and upscale cafés throughout Europe. In addition, I started my own pop-up café and I established a coffee training studio and roastery in the heart of Amsterdam; this is also where we teach the Boot Coffee courses in Holland. I am also a trainer at Boot Camp Coffee, our online training center for the coffee industry. Find out more about Kees and our European consulting and training services on this page.
Jodi Dowel Wieser
Jodi Dowel WieserQ Instructor
From a very early age, my interest in coffee began as my father would bring back coffee from all over the world during his travels. After college I moved to Mali, West Africa for two years focusing on international development work.  Upon returning from Africa I attended graduate school receiving a double masters in Intercultural Studies and Theology. My education in international relations and experience abroad provided the perfect framework for a successful career in the coffee industry. I have worked with Boot Coffee as a quality consultant and trainer from 2008 to 2015.  I am a licensed Q Grader and a Q Grader Instructor, as well as a Certified Instructional Trainer for the Specialty Coffee Association of America. For Boot Coffee Consulting, I have developed a large number of unique blends and roasting profiles for a range of clients from around the world.
Kelly Hartmann
Kelly HartmannCoffee Farming Specialist
I started working at my family’s coffee farm (Finca Hartmann) at the age of 16. Since 2008, I have been working with Boot Coffee in Panama, managing the Geisha farms Finca Sophia and Finca La Mula. In Panama I supervise a team of nine Ngobe-Bugle indigenous workers and a larger team of seasonal employees. I take personal pride in motivating my staff to take meticulous care of our precious Geisha trees. Farming at ultra high elevations (1700 to 2100 meters) is a challenging task, which -in the end- is rewarded through the quality in the cup. Over the years I developed a unique specialization in the cultivation of Geisha trees. In 2014 I enjoyed the highlight of my career when Finca La Mula won first place at the prestigious “Best of Panama” competition (2014).
Marlee Benefield
Marlee BenefieldMedia & Marketing / Trainer
My interest in coffee first began while working as a barista in college, then only grew while doing qualitative research in coffee-centric Indonesia during graduate school. At Boot Coffee, I have had the privilege to work on numerous projects spanning the coffee industry–from working with mico-farmers in El Salvador to improve coffee quality at the origin level, to hands-on barista training with clients in their cafes. I spend my time marketing direct-trade coffees to roasters in the US, sample roasting and cupping coffees for producers and private clients, representing Giesen Coffee Roasters in North America, and teaching our Boot Coffee Courses to students from around the globe.