The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) created Coffee Corps in 2003 when it was awarded two separate grants from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Coffee Corps, a volunteer-based program, provides technical assistance to growers, associations, and stakeholders throughout the coffee value chain by matching industry experts to specific projects. CQI’s Executive Director David Roche has a background in coffee agronomy and production, and his expertise in this field has provided increased clarity and impact at the farm level: an area that is consistently underserved in the industry. This program is currently active in all coffee growing regions, including East Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Indonesia.
In the last ten years, Coffee Corps has sent over 350 volunteers to over twenty coffee producing countries, logging an impressive more than 25,000 volunteer hours. Tens of thousands of producers have been able to understand more about quality and earn higher prices for their coffee through various workshops and training programs. Just as importantly, many importers, retailers, and roasters have developed meaningful, long-term relationships with producers. For many volunteers, it serves as their first connection to origin.
Michael Phillips, 2010 World Barista Champion and Coffee Corps volunteer, comments, “I think one of the essential things that CQI does is identify a need, find the right people and put them in the right places. I would certainly consider the time and effort I spent working at these [barista] events to be some of the more valuable and well received trainings I’ve ever done. I don’t think you can calculate the value because the ripple effect is enormous.”
Currently, the Coffee Corps program includes an array of specific technical assistance options, expanding the ability to provide request-based support more efficiently. Assistance and technical training includes expert consultation in many areas, including agronomy and production, processing, roasting, cupper training, laboratory development, marketing, barista training, and origin profiling. This “a la carte” style menu has proven to be highly effective and serves as a model that can be replicated by CQI’s origin partners to expand their ability to provide need-based assistance. Coffee Corps continues to remain a vital source of technical assistance for producing countries and relationship building within the supply chain, and we look forward to continuing this important work around the world.
How Can I Help?
We receive many applications from producers around the world in need of technical assistance. Unfortunately due to budgetary restrictions, we cannot support all of them. Since CQI is a 501(c)3, all donations are tax deductible and would directly support improving coffee quality through technical assistance, capacity building, cupping training, laboratory development, and other similar programs. To make a donation, please visit us at
Contact Name: Alexandra Katona-Carroll
Web Site: www.coffeeinstitute.org
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number: 562.901.3166