The American Barista & Coffee School Team
Fueled by the passion of its founder, Bruce Milletto and Vice President, Matt Milletto, Bellissimo has stayed on the cutting-edge of this explosive growth industry, and the company has evolved and expanded to address the needs of those entering the ever-changing specialty coffee market.
The American Barista & Coffee School’s business workshops are led by a team of well-seasoned, nationally-recognized specialty coffee experts. Our barista trainers work locally in independent coffeehouses—their skills have been recognized at the national competition level. In addition to our regular staff, we frequently invite guest speakers and instructors from industry-leading companies to lecture on hot topics in the industry.
For more than 25 years, Bellissimo has advised and set the standard for education and training in the specialty coffee industry. Thousands of coffee business owners have benefited from our expertise and created successful, profitable operations from single cafes to drive-thrus to major chains across the country.
Bruce Milletto - President
Bruce is recognized by the press and the coffee industry internationally as the voice of the specialty coffee industry. He has been interviewed by, or quoted in: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Newsweek, 60 Minutes, Kiplinger’s, Starbucks Annual Report, Forbes, the Economist, Harvard Management Update, Crain’s Business Review, the Seattle Times, the Washington Post, Business Week and Entrepreneur.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America [SCAA] named Bruce Milletto one of its 20 “Coffee Luminaries,” and he appeared in Gourmet Retailer’s 25th anniversary issue on the list of the 25 individuals who helped shape the specialty coffee industry.
Bruce wrote a column for many years for Fresh Cup magazine, the specialty coffee industry’s leading publication. He continues to frequently author articles for the magazine as well as provide articles and interviews for such trade publications as Fancy Food, Gourmet Retailer, Coffee and Beverage Euro Coffee and Coffeenet.
Matt Milletto - Vice President
Matt Milletto has extensive experience in retail coffee, and has opened and managed multiple coffeehouses. Matt has personally trained more than 2500 new coffee retail business owners and barista trainers/managers over the past 20 years. He regularly speaks at Coffee Fest, SCAA, and other industry tradeshows and has been quoted in numerous newspapers and industry magazines, including the Wall Street Journal.
Mike Nelson - Director of Training
For the past 12 years Mike has worked in the coffee industry as a barista, consultant, roaster, trainer, and company co-owner with specialty coffee companies in Oregon, New York, Florida, Sweden, and Denmark. He has consulted for restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in New York City and Portland. Mike’s roasting experience started in Portland, and has been shaped by an array of large and small scale operations. He has trained in retail and wholesale, and has developed training curricula. After moving to Tallahassee, FL for a graduate program, Mike and his wife, Caryn, started a coffee roasting company and consultancy.
Mike chose to combine his love of academia and coffee by focusing on coffee research. He holds an MSc in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science and an MSc in Geography. His work in sustainability science involved co-founding a public coffee education project in Lund, Sweden and engaging in a coffee leaf rust and climate change research project in Costa Rica. His graduate work in Florida took his coffee leaf rust research further, and focused on food and knowledge systems. When not brewing or roasting coffee, Mike enjoys brewing beer, hanging with his cat, Edi, and spending time in the outdoors.
Jen Hurd - Business Development & Trainer
In over 15 years, Jen moved from barista to coffee shop manager to sales manager for a wholesale coffee roaster. With the realization that specialty coffee was meant to be her career path, her love of education helped her find her way to the American Barista & Coffee School, where she manages business development and consulting and is one of the workshop instructors. With a passion for employee engagement and logistics, she helps coffee businesses find ways to build community and productivity.
She is thrilled to be a part of the coffee community and continues to push for the industry to work together to support and educate one another. Jenifer is a SCAA Barista Guild Level 1 Certified Barista, as well as a volunteer for the Oregon Coffee Board and the International Women's Coffee Alliance. When not sipping an espresso, she can be found collecting 1950s and 1960s glassware for her bar, snuggling with her cats (and her husband), or yelling at a video game.
Zach Perkins - Project Manager & Trainer
Prior to his career in the coffee industry, Zach dedicated 19 years to working as a design professional in the high-tech space. Originally from San Francisco, he worked his way up in Silicon Valley as a designer and spent 7 years managing design organizations for Fortune 100 companies, design agencies, and successful start-ups. When not educating people about coffee or designing, Zach is working at his coffee pop-up just outside of Portland and hanging out with his family.
Catie Garbinsky - Administrative Assistant
Catie joined The American Barista & Coffee School in 2016, and though she was completely new to the coffee industry when she joined ABCS, she absolutely loves getting to spend her days talking about and enjoying specialty coffee.