Coffee is a fixture of many people’s daily routines, whether it’s savoured at cafes with friends or consumed on a morning commute.
With almost 400 billion cups consumed each year, it’s one of the most popular drinks on the planet, and it’s one of the most traded commodities after oil.
On International Coffee Day, Oct. 1, students at the University of Arizona are learning about the complexities of coffee in a new course called Food 353: Coffee from Crop to Cup. All students are welcome to take the class, which is part of the Food Studies major.
This fall, Burc Maruflu, an educator, coffee specialist, and creator and proprietor of Savaya Coffee Market, will present Food 353: Coffee from Crop to Cup.
Burc Maruflu, a coffee expert and instructor in the School of Geography, Development, and Environment, focuses the course on the coffee supply chain, from farming to processing, exporting, importing, roasting, and retail sales. Maruflu is the creator and proprietor of Savaya Coffee Market, a Tucson-based coffee shop with five locations.
“I’m really passionate about coffee, quality coffee, and giving greater returns to individuals who put a lot of effort into it,” Maruflu said, adding that he wants to teach students about sustainable speciality coffee techniques. “Hopefully, this session will illuminate what’s really going on in the world of coffee, how it works, and how quality-conscious consumers may disrupt the supply chain.”
Students investigate subjects such as coffee’s role in global power systems, its history, the distinction between commercial and speciality coffee, coffee flavour profiles from throughout the world, coffee and climate change, consumer health and wellbeing, coffee-related vocations, and more. During school trips to a coffee roastery and a coffee brewery facility, Maruflu also shows pupils how to get the optimum flavour from single-origin coffee beans.
A Coffee Addiction
Maruflu’s passion for coffee was passed down through his Turkish ancestry.
In the mid-1500s, his many-times-great-grandfather sold coffee and learned the process of roasting, eventually becoming Sultan Solomon the Magnificent’s sole supplier. As a boy in Istanbul, Maruflu grew up learning about coffee from his grandmother, Neriman, an expert connoisseur of the craft.
“I grew up with the smell of it,” Maruflu said. “My grandmother’s approach to coffee was full of art, care and passion. She did not have the tools we have today. Today we combine that art and passion with science, precision and standards.”
Maruflu is a Q Grader, which is like being a sommelier in the coffee world. He also is licensed by the Coffee Quality Institute as an expert taster, or “cupper,” and evaluates coffees based on the Specialty Coffee Association guidelines.
During one class, Maruflu handed out the association’s cupping form and described the process for evaluating specialty coffee, scoring things such as aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body and uniformity. He demonstrated the process of cupping coffee with one of the coffee samples he brought in for the class to try.
“You slurp it,” he instructed. “This gives you not only the taste, but also the smell; it covers a larger area in your palate.”
In addition to coffee, Maruflu has a passion for entrepreneurship. He teaches classes about entrepreneurship and coffee in his shops. Internationally, he consults with groups such as the International Women’s Coffee Alliance in Honduras about entrepreneurship and how coffee farmers can differentiate their products. In recent years, he started the Centre for Coffee Excellence to advance coffee research and development.