At the Coffee Quality Institute, we have expressed since 1996 that the best sustainability project is one that improves and rewards quality. It is just as true today as it was then. CQI continues to build on over a decade of success in the promotion and education about quality coffee. 2013 will be a record year for lives helped through our efforts.
Improving Quality Improves Lives!
When founded, CQI had a strong focus on the science of taste formation and evaluation of coffee. It was determined that this science could be the most useful if the entire supply chain spoke the same language and were calibrated on flavor attributes. From this, the Q-Grader Certification was born. Since then, the world has been populated with over 2,100 Q-Graders in 59 Countries. The education component continues to improve and the value to the student grows each year. The release of the latest version of the Q-Grader course material in early 2013 will be one of our first great achievements for the year.
What may not be so well known about CQI are the many other areas where we serve the coffee supply chain. Technical assistance has been given in the areas of production and processing, quality improvement and increased internal consumption. Many producers are unaware of marketing tools, geographical identity of production zones and use of cup profiles. We find that producers are eager to learn about quality improvements and marketing of specialty coffees. CQI has an intimate understanding of coffee industry needs and has years of experience in the development of efficient coffee market linkages, technical assistance, market development, and capacity building in developing countries.
A great example of helping to create a market for specialty coffee was our efforts to help the Specialty Coffee Association of Indonesia bring some of their best coffees directly to the specialty roaster with a coffee auction. CQI was able to lend expertise in grading, selecting and preparing for the auction as well as provided an auctioneer to help boost the prices. All coffees received higher than market prices by being in the auction! Over seven times market in some cases!
CQI’s Coffee Corps™ volunteer program matches coffee-industry experts with farmers and associations at origin. The Coffee Corps is a group of volunteers passionate about coffee and willing to share their time and talents with coffee farmers and coffee communities. These volunteers help growers improve their production methods and processing, and train labs, roasters, packagers, exporters, baristas and café owners about quality control processes and marketing.
A well-received class in 2012 was the ‘Honey and Naturals Processing Class’ in Ethiopia run by CoffeeCorps Volunteers.
The latest new program for CQI is the R-Grader program. This is similar to the Q-Grader program but focuses on Robusta coffee and the farmers that produce this misunderstood crop. It is entirely possible that a whole new community will be able to benefit from the increased education and quality programs initiated by CQI. When you think about it: Quality Improvement is Quality Improvement, and Lives are Lives; therefore, regardless of plant species Improved Quality = Improved Lives.
As we look ahead to 2013 we see more contracts in place to do good work and pursue new research. We see programs growing on their own so we can focus on others that need more attention. We predict that there will be more lives helped by CQI than any other year in our history! Bring on 2013!
Coffee Corps Volunteer Coordinator, Coffee Quality Institute
Joan is originally from Wyoming, growing up in Cheyenne and graduating from the University of Wyoming in Laramie in 1976. She grew up in the travel agency business that her dad started in 1949, learning from him after school and during summer breaks. She spent several years in the hospitality industry as a sales manager for a resort hotel in Hood River followed by five years as Administrative Assistant at a small hospital in the area.
Joan has traveled extensively and brings a good deal of experience to managing logistics for the Coffee Corps Volunteers and Consultants. She also assists with proposal development, report generation and training activities.