Café Europa | Winter 2016

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Sowing the seeds for a new authority in speciality coffee ISSUE 66 TALES FROM THE CAMPS + PERU’S POTENTIAL + VALUE CHAIN + CLEAN YOUR MACHINE


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Inside ISSUE 66 | WINTER 2O16

04 Welcome Paul Stack details the unification process 06 Community The ‘who’s who’ of SCAE 10 Update Budapest gets ready for World of Coffee


14 Reflection David Veal looks back on the development of SCAE 16 Coffee Economics Mick Wheeler asks, is the value chain broken? 20 Partners Grounds for Health’s work in Kenya 22 Research Charting the waters for better coffee 28 Roasters Tales from the first Roaster Camp 31 Interview Talor&Jørgen’s Talor Browne


34 At the Bar with Sven Konopka 36 Origin Peru’s commitment to sustainable agriculture 42 How To… Clean your machine by Gwilym Davies 47 Field Trip Costa Rica 50 Q&A with AST Dan Lacey

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Sowing the Seeds for a New Association Paul Stack

September with the senior staff. With the task of taking the two organisations’ individual strategies and splicing them into one, the team delivered in spades. With a stated objective to take the current offerings from both associations, ensure services valued by our members are retained and more value created, the resultant strategy will hopefully see you, our members, experience positive change as we move into 2017. While the future is being crafted as a unified association, SCAE has been proudly delivering continued value to our members. Parnu, Estonia hosted two excellent events, details of which are

Participants at Barista Camp in Estonia this October


his year, 2016, will be remembered by the Speciality Coffee Community as a significant year of change. As we ease towards 2017, it is worth reflecting on the year and the progress made therein. At a market level, we have seen international growth in high street coffee shops with speciality coffee quality and standards as the significant differentiators. Consequently, the standards across all coffee shops are rising, which is great to see. Against the backdrop of this heightened awareness of speciality coffee, we must continue to be the innovators. We must continue to research, educate, network and share best-in-class standards. Most importantly, we must be the flag bearers for all those in the coffee supply chain, with emphasis on the farmers and their workers at origin, as their voice can only be heard if we, who depend on them, amplify it. Lurking behind this activity at speciality coffee level is an increase in coffee consumption globally and a deepening threat to future supplies of green coffee. As this landscape poses both enormous opportunities and challenges, it is ever more important that we redouble our efforts as a single community. With you, our SCAE members, delivering a firm mandate to merge with SCAA, we must now execute that merger with our shared vision trumpeted throughout the coffee world: Together we will be an effective, dynamic, and authentic organisation that gives voice and substance to the possibilities for speciality coffee worldwide. 4 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

We must be the flag bearers for all those in the coffee supply chain, with emphasis on the farmers and their workers at origin, as their voice can only be heard if we, who depend on them, amplify it. All mergers, be they in social, business or in our case, associations, harbour the potential of failure. If the two merging cultures are not aligned, the likelihood of failure is high. However, SCAA and SCAE members come together with over 90% commonality on what we should be doing together as a community. With that level of shared intent, the likelihood of success is high. To enable the journey from two to one, the senior executive staff from SCAE and SCAA spent four days together in London in September. This was a crucial time together. The staff of the unified association will be the engine of success. They must take our strategy for speciality coffee globally and execute it. To do that, they must understand the strategic actions and feel both personally and professionally motivated to execute that strategy. I congratulate and thank the staff from both SCAE and SCAA for the positive enthusiasm they have brought to the journey to date. Against a backdrop of their parent associations merging, staff members face a change in their personal circumstances as they become part of a bigger and better unit. Change is always difficult for some and in the face of that change we can be proud of our excellent staff. The boards of SCAE and SCAA also spent two days together in London in

featured in these pages. First, our third annual Barista Camp! Building on the successes of Greece 2014 and Italy 2015, Estonia 2016 was bigger and better as we continue to offer our Barista Community opportunities to network and learn together. Congratulations to the Barista Guild of Europe for yet another success! Preceding Barista Camp was the nascent Roaster Guild of Europe’s inaugural event, Roaster Camp. A sold out success, Roaster Camp has been a SCAE board objective since 2014 as a new event to add to the speciality coffee calendar, recognising the need to offer our evergrowing cohort of speciality coffee roasters an event and network of their own. It is wonderful to see volunteers and staff create and deliver such a landmark step towards future events. CoLab: Barcelona and AST Live Asia finish the impressive line-up of member offerings in 2016. I am very proud to have represented you as President and board member. I thank you for your support and infectious enthusiasm for our wonderful industry. Let us embrace 2017 together and with confidence. Paul Stack President Speciality Coffee Association of Europe

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President Paul Stack (Ireland), Marco Beverage Systems Past President Cosimo Libardo (Italy), Toby Estates Vice President Christina Meinl (Austria), Julius Meinl Executive Director David Veal (UK), SCAE Deputy Executive Director Yannis Apostolopoulos (Greece), SCAE

Nils Erichsen (Germany), Ube Erichsen Beteiliungs

Tibor Várady (Hungary), Barista Guild of Europe

Luigi Morello (Italy), La Cimbali

Ludovic Maillard (France), Maison Jobin

Johan Damgaard (Sweden), Johan & Nyström

Alberto Polojac (Italy), Imperator

David Veal, Executive Director Yannis Apostolopoulos, Deputy Executive Director Michelle Hawkins, PA to Executive Director Membership and Communications Team James Humpoletz, Membership & Communications Director Keith Amos, Corporate Relations Manager Andra Vlaicu, Communications Coordinator Richard Stiller, Membership Marketing Coordinator Anna Barlow, Member Retention Advisor Alison Wraight, Member Engagement Advisor Sharon Humpoletz, Merchandiser Jessica Bennett, Marketing Assistant Community Team Annemarie Tiemes, Business Development Manager Isa Verschraegen, Guild Manager Charlotte Wang, Chapter Manager Asia Jackie Malone, Chapter Manager Europe Hannah Davies, Guild Coordinator Megan Guo, China Representative Cera Jung, S. Korea Representative Kim Staalman, Europe Representative Education Team Susan Hollins, Education Director Alex Morrell, Education Coordinator Owen Thom, Quality Coordinator Henry Hollins, Education Administrator Events Team Garret Buckley, Events Manager Rebecca Dunwoody, Event Operations Manager Margaret Andreucetti, Exhibition Sales Manager Jens Henrik Thomsen, Sponsorship Coordinator Operations Team David Hewitt, Operations Director Denise Alborough, Accounts Manager Caroline Newman, Accounts Assistant Karen Ross, Accounts Assistant Lesley Potts, Accounts Assistant Aidan Jones, Accounts Assistant Kay Bennett, Administrator Robyn Stevenson, Administrator Hayley May, Administrator Laura Endean, Administrator Lewis Young, Analyst SCAE COMMITTEES

Frank Neuhausen (Germany), BWT water+more

Chahan Yeretzian (Switzerland), University of Zurich

Dale Harris (UK), HasBean

Lauro Fioretti (Italy), Nuova Simonelli

Konstantinos Konstantinopoulos (Greece), Coffee Island

Davide Cobelli (Italy), Coffee Training Academy 6 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

Membership Committee Luigi Morello, Chair Andrew Tolley Dale Harris Tibor Varady David Veal Yannis Apostolopoulos Jackie Malone Education Committee Ludovic Maillard, Chair Paul Stack Ben Townsend Paul Meikle-Janney Edouard Thomas John Thompson Morten Münchow Panagiotis Konstantinopoulos Davide Cobelli David Veal Yannis Apostolopoulos Susan Hollins Annemarie Tiemes


Events Committee Konstantinos Konstantinopoulos, Chair Willem Huisman Grace O’Shaughnessy Anke Erichsen Brita Folmer Tibor Hajcsunk David Veal Yannis Apostolopoulos Garret Buckley Annemarie Tiemes Marketing Committee Christina Meinl, Chair Johan Damgaard Dale Harris Maurizio Giuli Jörg Krahl David Veal Yannis Apostolopoulos James Humpoletz Audit Committee Nils Erichsen, Chair Mark Rose David Veal Yannis Apostolopoulos David Hewitt International Development Committee Alberto Polojac, Chair Mick Wheeler Colin Smith Angel Mario Martinez Garcia Inyoung Kim (Anna) Nick Watson Antony Watson David Veal Yannis Apostolopoulos Research Committee Chahan Yeretzian, Chair Morten Munchow, Vice Chair Frank Neuhausen Lauro Fioretti Edouard Thomas Antony Watson David Veal Yannis Apostolopoulos OTHER SCAE ORGANISATIONS SCAE President’s Council President Paul Stack (Ireland) Past President Cosimo Libardo (Italy) Vice President Christina Meinl (Austria) Treasurer Nils Erichsen (Germany) Executive Director David Veal (UK) Deputy Executive Director Yannis Apostolopoulos Drewry Pearson (Ireland) SCAE Ambassadors SCAE has named the following Past Presidents of the Association as its Ambassadors: Alf Kramer (Norway) Patrick Bewley (Ireland) Mick Wheeler (UK)

Trygve Klingenberg (Norway) Tomasz Obracaj (Poland) Colin Smith (UK) Max Fabian (Italy) Nils Erichsen (Germany) Marc Käppelli (Switzerland) Drewry Pearson (Ireland) Cosimo Libardo (Italy) World Coffee Events (Jointly Owned By SCAE/SCAA) Chair - Marcus Boni SCAE Director - David Veal SCAA Director - Ric Reinhart Managing Director - Cindy Ludviksen Treasurer - Drewry Pearson NATIONAL COORDINATORS EUROPEAN CHAPTERS AUSTRIA Günter Stölner, e: BELARUS Maryna Voskresenskaya, e: BELGIUM Kathleen Serdons, e: BULGARIA TBC CZECH REPUBLIC Stepan Neubauer, e: DENMARK Lene Hyldahl, e: FINLAND Viivi Ahtiainen, e: FRANCE Stéphane Comar, e: GERMANY Peter Muschiol, e: GREECE Konstantinos Konstantinopoulos, e: HUNGARY Gergely Boross, e: ICELAND Njall Bjorgvinsson, e: IRELAND Joseph Smith, e: ITALY Dario Ciarlantini, e: LATVIA Martins Dzenis, e:

LITHUANIA Nidas Kiuberis, e: NETHERLANDS Peter Eijl, e: NORWAY Marit Lynes, e: POLAND Anna Oleksak, e: PORTUGAL Claudia Pimentel, e: ROMANIA Silvia Constantin, e: RUSSIA Alexander Tsibaev, e: SERBIA Milos Stupar, e: SLOVAKIA Tomas Callo, e: SLOVENIA TBC SPAIN Miguel Lamora Bárcena, e: SWEDEN John Dester e: SWITZERLAND Philipp Henauer, e: TURKEY Okan Turfanda, e: UKRAINE TBC UNITED KINGDOM Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, e: INTERNATIONAL CHAPTERS SINGAPORE Ross Bright, e: SOUTH KOREA Jong Ho Woo, e: REGIONAL COORDINATORS Tibor Hajcsunk Eastern Europe: Greece, Turkey, Hungary (Pilot Country), Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Estonia Heinz Trachsel Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria CAFÉ EUROPA | WINTER 2016 7

No.66 | Winter 2016


Café Europa is the magazine of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, which is free to members of SCAE. Published quarterly, a digital edition is also available to view and download in the members’ lounge on the website,

Speciality Coffee Association of Europe is a company limited by guarantee registered in the United Kingdom, Co. Reg. No. 3612500. Copies of the SCAE by-laws are available by written request.

Publisher: Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) Editor: Sarah Grennan Art Director: Mark Nally Marketing Manager: James Humpoletz Advertising: Keith Amos Sub-Editor: Elizabeth MacAulay Contributors: Elizabeth Barry, Gwilym Davies, Colin Smith, Paul Stack, Guy Stallworthy, Richard Stiller, David Veal, Andra Vlaicu, Marco Wellinger, Mick Wheeler © Copyright 2015, Speciality Coffee Association of Europe Café Europa (Print) ISSN 1752-8429 Café Europa (Digital) ISSN 1752-8437 EDITORIAL Articles and contributions by SCAE members are invited; please contact the Editor, Sarah Grennan e: t: +353 87 686 1272 ADVERTISING For information about advertising in Café Europa please contact Keith Amos, SCAE Business Development Executive e: t: +44 1245 426060 The SCAE Media Pack is available for download on SUBSCRIPTIONS The print and digital editions of Café Europa are free to members of SCAE. To join the Association please visit

SCAE, Oak Lodge Farm, Leighams Road, Bicknacre, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 4HF, UK t: +44 1245 426060 | e: | w: Follow SCAE SCAEWorldofCoffee






This publication is produced for SCAE by Crimson Communications, Design by Odin Creative, Printing by Metro Commercial Printing, Views expressed in Café Europa do not necessarily represent those of its Editor or the publisher, Speciality Coffee Association of Europe. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information, SCAE and its agents accept no responsibility for any inaccuracies that may arise. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, including photocopying or storing by any electronic means, is prohibited without the prior permission of SCAE.

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Countdown Begins to World of Coffee 2017 Budapest is preparing to welcome the global coffee community as World of Coffee heads to Eastern Europe for the first time in 2017.


wned by the Speciality Coffee Association and sponsored for a third year in a row by BWT water+more, World of Coffee is the most exciting coffee event on the planet, gathering thousands of visitors from up to 100 countries around the world for a festival of coffee innovation, education, debates, competitions and entertainment. SCAE Executive Director, David Veal, explains why the Association chose the Hungarian capital as the location for the 17th annual World of Coffee event. ‘With a thriving coffee culture and an enviable reputation as Europe’s most stunning city, Budapest is going to be a great venue for World of Coffee. Following on from the hugely successful event in Dublin, we are really excited about the 2017 event and the plans already in place which will allow the Budapest event to build on the success of previous years. In Budapest, we will continue to set trends, push boundaries and lead innovation in this vibrant industry.’ The footprint of the show has been extended to over 8,000sq.m. and bookings for World of Coffee 2017 are well ahead of target with nearly 75% of stand space already secured. Major exhibitors signed up for 2017 include La Marzocco, Java Republic, Marco Beverage Systems and Ahlstrom, along with some first-time exhibitors, such as ASCASO, Casino Mocca, Libamba, Coffee Desk, Hario, La Boheme Café, Loveramics, OCR Commodities, Ozturkbay Roasters, Phuisinh Corporation and Roastmax Tor, to name just a few. With demand rising for the remaining 25% of stand space, the event’s organisers are advising prospective exhibitors to book their place now to avoid disappointment. 10 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

World of Coffee is dedicated to promoting strategic development within the industry, leading innovation and facilitating high-level discussions. To support this there is a full programme of activities in the pipeline once again. This includes Re:co, the speciality coffee symposium, which gathers coffee’s leading stakeholders and strategists together to debate the big issues affecting the industry. Also returning in 2017 are the SCAE Seminar Rooms, with two centres dedicated to the Science and Business of Coffee, while the Cupping Room promises to be a hit again with a series of exclusive cuppings held daily. The hugely successful Sustainability Forum will be another not-to-be-missed attraction in Budapest. Hot on the heels of the success of the inaugural forum at World of Coffee Dublin, the 2017 think-in will feature key talks on the economic, environmental and social challenges that the industry faces and encourage debate and knowledge-sharing on this crucial issue of sustainability. No less than five new World Champions will be crowned in Budapest when World of Coffee plays host to the World Brewers Cup, the World Latte Art Championship, the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, World Ibrik Championship and the World Cup Tasters Championship. Organised by World Coffee Events (WCE), the competitions will draw national champions from across the world where they will battle it out to be named ‘Best in Class’ in 2017. World of Coffee Budapest takes place at HungExpo on 13-15 June 2017. To book your place as an exhibitor, please contact Jens Thomsen at or Margaret Andreucetti at To learn more about what’s coming up at the 2017 show and to find out why you should visit, head to or follow the organisers on social media at SCAE_Community.


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How Coffee Loves Us Back ANTONY WATSON on the health benefits of coffee.


eyond the frequent claims and counterclaims, the benefits of drinking coffee are well researched and documented. But for all the evidence that reveals why drinking coffee in moderation is not harmful and can be good for us, there is still a great deal of confusion in the public domain about coffee consumption. Given the complexity of coffee’s molecular make-up with more than one thousand chemical compounds present in our favourite brew, it is no surprise that there is so much misunderstanding about the role it can play in our daily diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. To coincide with International Coffee Day in October, the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) partnered with the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) to highlight some of the facts – and dispel a few myths – around the physiological and psychological effects of drinking coffee. The intervention came in the wake of a review recently conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), which found that there is no clear association between coffee intake and cancer. Roel Vaessen, Secretary General of ISIC, said: ‘The findings suggest that temperature, rather than the type of drink, is linked to potential carcinogenicity. However, as any drink consumed at temperatures over 65°C is hot enough to scald the mouth and tongue, it is very 12 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

unlikely that consumers would be able to drink their coffee at such very hot temperatures. Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide, drunk at an enjoyable temperature, which is typically below 60°C.’ According to the European Food Safety Authority, there is evidence that moderate, daily coffee consumption of between three to five cups of coffee a day poses no health risk and can even help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and common cancers such as that of the liver or uterus. A wealth of scientific literature now shows how coffee consumption can be associated with a range of positive effects on the body and mind as part of a healthy, balanced and active lifestyle. This is particularly true when it comes to the effect of caffeine in boosting our cognitive abilities whilst staving off the onset of serious neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in later life by up to 20%. And studies have shown that even drinking decaffeinated coffee can help protect against the onset of Type-2 Diabetes from developing.

Coffee is also rich in powerful antioxidants, polyphenols and other essential nutrients such as Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (B3), Potassium, Magnesium and Pantothenic Acid (B5) that can help improve health as part of a balanced diet. In a consumer survey of more than 4000 adults conducted across 10 European countries last year, the ISIC found that 67% of Europeans say they ‘could not imagine life without coffee’. The findings showed that despite coffee’s increasing popularity amongst Europeans, there was still uncertainty (37%) about its potential health benefits, highlighting the need for more science and evidence-based information to be shared by healthcare and coffee professionals globally. David Veal, Executive Director of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, added: ‘As well as the many physiological benefits of drinking coffee, the sensory enjoyment and social role that coffee provides in our daily lives is vitally important for our sense of wellbeing. That is why SCAE, our members, and dozens of coffee associations around the world came together on 1 October to celebrate the men and women who grow and harvest the coffee that we love – and why coffee loves us back from a health perspective.’ To learn more about the benefits of drinking coffee, see


Coffee Cherry Infusions from Mare Terra Mare Terra is introducing its new coffee cherry, produced following three years of research and development with partners in Honduras. By transforming this by-product of coffee, considered as waste and one of the major polluters at the farm level, into a sustainable product, Mare Terra aims to improve not only the environmental conditions in the plantations, but also the quality of life and income of small farmers, increasing their profitability and productivity. ‘Our coffee cherry from Capucas Cooperative and Finca San José is processed through rigorous control. Without any chemical additives, the coffee cherry is regularly controlled to procure its quality, humidity, colour, texture and especially its sensory profile. This meticulous process develops an infusion with natural contents of carbohydrates, proteins, tannins, minerals, potassium, sugars and chlorogenic acid. With a total percentage of caffeine between 0.58% to 0.68%, it makes an energetic, antioxidant and diuretic drink,’ says the green coffee importer. The coffee cherry has notes of ripe red fruit, blackberries and raisins, cinnamon and bergamot. ‘The final product is a tribute to all our collaborators and their families at origin!’ For more, please email

ESCATEC Delivers for Unilever ESCATEC, the electronics and mechatronics contract design and manufacturing services provider, has delivered a multimillion euro manufacturing contract with Unilever for the new T.O by Lipton capsule-based tea machine, industrialising Unilever’s initial design for high volume production and establishing a new HACCP-compliant factory in Malaysia. The tea-brewing machine has been designed to provide the optimal brewing experience and quality in-cup delivery across a range of over 30 T.O by Lipton blends. The machine identifies the blend within each capsule and determines the corresponding optimum brewing requirements accordingly. Respecting the tradition and ceremony of tea and to ensure the maximum flavour is able to develop, the leaves move around the transparent brewing chamber with the trademarked Air Movement Infusion process. ESCATEC was able to exploit its global footprint to deliver on this project. The industrialisation and design for manufacture was done in ESCATEC’s Swiss facility, in close collaboration with Unilever R&D at Colworth Science Park, UK. ‘Many of our customers are based in Europe and, having a base of operations in the geographical heart of Europe enables us to rapidly progress projects,’ explained Dr Thomas Dekorsy, ESCATEC’s General Manager Switzerland. ‘Our team in Switzerland worked closely with our Malaysian team to ensure a seamless transfer to mass production in ESCATEC’s Malaysian factory.’ For further information, see or email

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‘We Owe So Much to So Many’ As the unified speciality coffee association – formed through the merger of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe and Specialty Coffee Association of America – prepares to launch in 2017, SCAE Executive Director, DAVID VEAL, reflects on the success of the association over the past 15 years and the contribution that thousands of members have made to the speciality coffee community.


n January 2011 I got the dream job – Executive Director of SCAE. I had been a member for several years, had volunteered as a sensory judge and had helped the Chapter in the UK while I ran my café wholesale business in the North of England. What an honour and a privilege to be given the responsibility to lead my association in an industry and community for which I, and thousands of others, had an overwhelming passion. I took over from Mick Wheeler, who had not only served the association as Executive Director, but also as President and indeed Founder Member. He expertly steered a course from the very beginning, balancing the demands of a volunteer members’ association with the necessity to grow and become more professional. By 2011 SCAE had enjoyed 13 years of growth and success, had nearly 1,000 members, had invented six coffee competitions and had introduced a fledgling education programme. But things needed to change if the association was to develop in the way that the Board at the time wanted and the first thing to do was to appoint a full-time executive. (Mick was part-time, having a day job as the representative for Papua New Guinea in Europe.) So together the Board, volunteers and executive working as a team, started on a new, exciting and challenging journey of expansion, engagement and advocacy, constantly promoting

David Veal

success. The Founder Members, the lifetime members who have helped out financially in difficult times; the Past Presidents, all of whom are now SCAE Ambassadors (with the exception of Vincenzo Sandalj, who sadly passed away in 2013); all of those who have served as Directors, both in the past and on the current Board, and the many thousands of volunteers who have supported us as National Coordinators, committee members, ASTs, creators,

SCAE’s membership continued to increase significantly and now stands at just under 5,000. This goes to show how many people are buying into the ‘why’ of speciality coffee, its importance in so many lives, and the role that the association has played in its development. Of course, it is all about people. speciality coffee in searching for excellence. We had great fun and many triumphs, including the launch of the Coffee Diploma System and its subsequent success. To date, 90,000 certificates have been issued and, assuming that most students take, on average, three certifications, that means that 30,000 professionals and coffee professionals and lovers have been professionally educated by SCAE. Our education system is truly world-class. We now own and deliver a world-class event in World of Coffee, which is certainly now one of the best coffee shows in the world. Our research output is gathering pace, with six papers published in 2016 alone, including the highly-praised Water Chart. We are working around the world with many partners, including funding support, particularly with Grounds for Health and the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, where we are supporting a specific project to buy land and establish a model farm in Rwanda. Consequently our membership has continued to increase significantly and now stands at just under 5,000. This goes to show how many people are buying into the ‘why’ of speciality coffee, its importance in so many lives, and the role that SCAE has played in its development. Of course, it is all about people. This association owes so much to so many people for its 14 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

judges, working at events, and in so many different ways. And, of course, the Executive team at the farm at HQ, who have worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to keep it all together. My sincere thanks go to all of those people who have helped the journey over the last six years be so successful. So we now move into a new era, joining together with our friends, collaborators and colleagues of many years, the Specialty Coffee Association of America. We will bring all of the above strengths and successes and – added to those of SCAA – it will make us the strongest association in the coffee industry with a potential to serve our community and accomplish even greater things. Together we will be an effective, dynamic and authentic association that will give voice and substance to the possibilities for speciality coffee worldwide. Together we will continue to promote speciality coffee, address critical issues and make a better coffee world. The future is challenging and exciting and the new association will play a central part in that future. As my time as Executive Director draws to a close I wish my successors at the new unified association success and fulfilment for the future.

E F E F ! O C F O E T S A T L A E R E H T R O F

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Is the Coffee Value Chain Broken?

Mick Wheeler

It is often argued that because producers account for less than 15% of the global coffee industry total, the product they produce is seriously undervalued and the value chain is therefore broken. MICK WHEELER investigates if this argument rings true.

Image: Nueva Segovias, Nicaragua by Jonatan Låstbom. Photo entry in the SCAE Photography Competition 2015


offee, like all other commodities, progresses through a number of stages as it travels along the supply or marketing chain from seed to cup. However, not all coffee follows the same route, some coffees bypass a number of stages along the chain while other coffees pass through additional stages on the path to the consumer. Furthermore, with the improvement in logistics (both international and domestic), a number of stages that existed in the past have now been eliminated. Nevertheless, as the bulk of the coffee produced worldwide is mainly consumed by people who do not actually grow it, and as it is a product which requires roasting, processing, packaging and brewing before it is consumed, it is inevitably handled by a number of different intermediaries along the supply chain. At each and every one of these stages costs are incurred either directly or indirectly and, as a result, value is added. The coffee supply/value chain starts at the farm gate, where the majority of farmers sell their coffee. Some farmers sell their 16 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

coffee as fresh cherry; others sell dried cherry; some process their coffee through to parchment and then sell; while many larger farmers process their coffee through to green bean. In a few exceptional cases (in Hawaii for example) some farmers roast their coffee and either sell direct to consumers (especially recently via the internet) or to wholesalers, but this is the exception rather than the rule. The further up the supply value chain the grower sells his coffee, the greater the percentage of the final value of the product he retains, but equally the greater his costs. It is often argued that there are too many middlemen in the coffee industry but this fails to recognise the many stages that coffee (and similar commodities) pass through between grower and consumer. These stages include collection, primary processing, export processing, marketing, financing, transport to port, export clearing and shipping, import discharge and clearing, inland transportation to roaster, roasting, packaging, marketing, »


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COFFEE ECONOMICS promotion, distribution/wholesale, before retail to final consumer. All are necessary stages that involve third parties – i.e. middlemen – because someone has to perform these functions, obviously at a cost that, of course, includes a profit margin. Removing the ‘middle man’ does not remove the ‘middle function’ Put differently, everyone who handles coffee between the grower and the end-consumer, including the roaster and the retailer, can be considered a middleman. Global Coffee Industry Value (including out-of-home sales)

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The coffee supply chain operates on a value which is determined or discovered by the price generated at the chain’s centre by the two major international coffee exchanges. These exchanges – the Intercontinental Commodity Exchange (ICE) in New York for arabica and LIFFE in London for robusta – act as the primary price discovery mechanism for the bulk of the coffees traded on world markets and essentially establish an ex-dock reference price, against which the bulk of the world’s coffee is priced. Consequently the reference price established by the exchanges acts as the pivot around which the value chain revolves, in that it determines the value which flows down to producers and at the same time determines the price of coffee that flows upwards throughout the chain to the consumer. It is true that there are some coffees, especially the exceptional speciality coffees, which are to an extent independent of exchange-determined prices, but in reality there are only a few of these, such as Jamaica Blue Mountain, Panamanian Geishas, et cetera. Consequently the value a coffee grower creates is effectively totally dependent upon the price determined by the exchanges, over which he has little control. He is a price taker whereas the roaster/manufacturer uses the price determined by the exchange to establish the value of his output, therefore he remains a price setter. The chain is asymmetrical in terms of control over the value-creation either side of the exchange-determined price. But coffee is not unique in this respect as many other commodities work in exactly the same way. This asymmetry does not end there however. A recent study showed that a 10% increase or decrease in the Ex-Dock price (i.e. that determined by the exchanges) brings about on average a 7.4% increase/decrease in the retail price of the coffee, but conversely it, on average, brings about a 11.7% increase/decrease in the ex-mill price for the coffee in the producing country and a 18.7% increase/decrease in the fresh cherry price. This asymmetry between the impact of increases and decreases on prices at different stages in the chain reflects the number of fixed costs that occur in a number of the sectors of the industry, but it needs


to be stressed that this is not, in itself, a symptom of a broken chain as all commodity chains tend to work in the same way. A recent estimate put the total value generated by the global coffee industry at $235bn. Breaking that figure down into its constituent parts and providing an accurate estimate of the overall value added by each sector in the chain is extremely complex as the data to undertake such a calculation simply does not exist. Nevertheless using some fairly broad assumptions, the chart (left) gives a reasonable approximation of the share that each sector generates in the industry’s total. Please note that the value generated by domestic markets in producing countries is not broken down into its constituent parts in the same way as it is in importing markets. This is because very little data exists which would allow such a calculation. It is often argued that, because producers only account on average for less than 15% of this overall total, the product they produce is seriously undervalued and the value chain is therefore broken. Indeed there is no doubt that in the past their product accounted for a larger share of the total than it does today. But there is a good reason for this, and that is the phenomenal growth that has been witnessed over the last 25 to 30 years in the out-of-home market in most of the major consuming markets. The out-of-home market, however, represents significantly more than just coffee, as it includes the value of a number of additional components or costs that selling a cup of the beverage incurs. The most important of which is probably rent of the retail premises, that typically can account for anything between 20% to 40% of total costs and sometimes more. Then comes labour, taxes, milk, sugar, cups, brewing equipment, other asset depreciation and so on. For many out-of-home operators, coffee probably represents no more than 5% to 10% of their total costs. However, if the out-of-home market is ignored altogether, then the evidence suggests that producers might still have a valid gripe. Their share of the gross value generated by the rest of global industry up to the roasted coffee level in the chain has certainly shrunk over the last 30 to 40 years. A study conducted by the ICO a few years ago, in which the overall share in the resources created along the coffee value chain in nine countries (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the USA) were analysed, certainly confirms this. These countries account for almost 70% of total average consumption of all importing countries during the period under study. The study, which was conducted over three separate periods, found a very close correlation between the value of imports and the ICO indicator price and hence demonstrated that unit values of imports are strongly dependent on world market price levels. The study also referred to an earlier study which found that a strong correlation exists between unit values of imports and retail prices. Consequently the study found that the gross value added by the roasting sector in these countries could be calculated using the difference between the unit value of imports and retail prices. The results, which are shown in the table below, indicate that the gross margin in the majority of these countries has increased significantly over time: Gross Added Value as a Percentage of the Retail Price Year







































67.2% Source: ICO

COFFEE ECONOMICS It needs to be stressed however that all three periods while in Brazil the majority of growers made a profit every year. highlighted were abnormal in some respect. The period 1975 to Nevertheless, if the full costs of production – i.e. variable plus fixed 1989 encompassed the price boom of the late 1970s following costs – are taken into account, then only Brazilian farmers (most the 1975 Brazilian frost and the imposition of quotas throughout but not all) would have seen a positive return over the last 10 years. the 1980s. This very much distorted the normal market situation All other producers would have seen negative returns. and thus cannot be seen as a reliable baseline period. Similarly Obviously then there are some very serious problems in our the period 1990 to 2009 encompassed the release of stocks industry but it is extremely difficult to argue that the value chain built up in the quota period throughout the early 1990s and then is broken. There are some serious flaws which are a cause for the price crisis experienced during the first six to seven years of concern but there are also mitigating circumstances which the new century. The last term also focuses on that price crisis complicate the issue. On balance, many would agree that the period. Therefore, on reflection, the fact that gross margins distribution of the value created by the global coffee industry is increased should not really come as any real surprise, but it does becoming more lopsided. This has more to do with the fact that beg the question as to what is normal. the New York C contract has become a poor price discovery On the other side of the coin, however, a more recent study mechanism for many in the industry, than with the chain itself. by the ICO has found that over the last 10 years producer costs For although the New York market is effectively the centrepiece of production have increased steadily over time and follow a of the global value chain, it is now widely acknowledged that clear upward trend. But, by way of compensation, offsetting this it has become a proxy market for Brazilian Naturals, a coffee increase in costs has been an overall increase in yields and hence which accounts for more than 40% of total supply and which is efficiency, which in most industries would indicate either an produced by the most efficient growers in the industry. increase in, or at the very least the maintenance of, profitability. The problem is not with the value chain as such, but rather However the results of the study paint a very mixed picture with with the fact that many growers, especially many of those the situation varying from country to country. producing washed mild arabica, are no longer profitable and The study concludes that, compared to other industries, the are pricing their coffees not against similar coffees but against average short-term profitability (excluding fixed costs) of growing coffees produced by the most efficient farmers. The value chain coffee was low in most of the countries studied, except Brazil. therefore remains intact; it is a dynamic entity, ever changing to Indeed in El Salvador, growers only made an operating profit in reflect the current market reality. Whether we like those changes one year out of the last 10. They broke even in two years and or not is immaterial, market economics always dominate over made an operating loss in the other seven years. In Costa Rica the longer term. the growers fared a little better, making an operating profit in four MICK WHEELER is an agricultural economist, specialising in tropical commodities, of the last 10 years and losses in the other six years. However, it particularly coffee and cocoa. A SCAE Ambassador and former SCAE Executive does need to be pointed out that the impact of the coffee leaf Director, he is the Overseas Representative of the Papua New Guinea Coffee Industry rust outbreak in both of these countries has distorted the results Corporation and serves as Papua New Guinea's Permanent Representative to the somewhat. In Colombia the situation is much better as the coffee 9510 Cafethere Europa Ad (125x185) 30/11/2015 Page 1 Coffee Organization (ICO). growers made operatingAW.qxp_125x185mm profits in nine of the last 10 years,14:44 International


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Combating Cervical Cancer in Kenya Grounds for Health’s cervical cancer prevention programme in Nyeri County, Kenya, is off to a promising start, thanks in part to support from SCAE, reports GUY STALLWORTHY.

Nurses from Kiganjo, Kiamabara and Mukerweini clinics, pictured with their supervisors from the Nyeri County Health Executive


yeri County, in the Central Highlands of Kenya, is the traditional heart of Kenya’s coffee industry. It has a population of about 750,000, and 53% of the workforce is estimated to be dependent on coffee. Women perform most of the work in coffee cultivation and initial processing. Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Kenya’s women, very few of whom have ever been screened. In December 2015, Grounds for Health, with support from SCAE and others, began programme interventions in Nyeri by delivering on-the-job training to two nurses from one clinic, Kiganjo. In July 2016, we conducted a more formal training session over 10 days. Participants included six nurses from three clinics (Kiganjo, Kiamabara and Mukerweini), along with four of their supervisors from the Nyeri County Health Executive (pictured). The quality of the training was especially appreciated. As Jane Nderi from Kiamabara Health Centre, put it: ‘I am passionate about women and children. I am now able to make an immediate difference and impact on the life of women by providing them with cervical cancer screening and treatment. The women are so happy when I do that and this is very satisfying.’ 20 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

Also in July, we trained seven Community Health Workers (CHW) from each of the clinics, together with their supervisors. The CHW have been responsible for spreading the word about cervical cancer, and the availability of screening and treatment services, among women in the communities surrounding the health centres. We then held feedback meetings with these Community Health Workers at their clinics in September and October. The vast majority of women who are found to have pre-cancerous lesions can be treated there and then with cryotherapy, a simple technique which doesn’t even require anesthesia, freezing the lesions within minutes and killing any precancerous cells. In a few cases, the lesions are too big for cryotherapy and require surgical techniques that are not available in Nyeri. Grounds for Health has established a relationship with the non-profit Sagam community hospital in Kakamega County, 338 kilometres from Nyeri, which is willing and able to provide the surgery at a cost to us of just €45, compared to €180 at one of the leading private hospitals in Nairobi. Charity, the first patient to benefit from this arrangement, underwent successful surgery on 10 October.


Since December 2015, clinics supported by Grounds for Health have screened 1,192 women in Nyeri County and provided preventive therapy to 187 of them. Since December 2015, clinics supported by Grounds for Health have screened 1,192 women and provided preventive therapy to 187 of them. The rate has picked up to more than 150 women screened per month since the July training. Demand for services is particularly high at Mukurweini Hospital, which attracts patients from a wide area. In order to meet the demand, Grounds for Health worked with the County Health Executive to organise an intensive mini-campaign. Seven nurses from different health facilities screened 304 women over three days, from 17-19 October. Forty-six were found to need cryotherapy, three were referred to Sagam for surgery. Sadly, one woman is thought to already have cervical cancer. Near-Term Plans Grounds for Health’s target for the financial year 2016-2017 is to screen 2,000 women and deliver preventive therapy to 300 of them. But we could do much more. Nyeri County has more than 100,000 women aged 25-49, and there are 30 government health centres and hospitals across the county. The main constraint is funding, with less than €27,000 secured for 2016-2017 so far. Anyone who is interested in exploring ways to partner with Grounds for Health in support of this work should contact Dagmawi Iyasu, Programme Manager, at dagmawi@

HELP BEAT CERVICAL CANCER Grounds for Health plans to screen 17,000 women for cervical cancer in Peru, Kenya and Ethiopia during the financial year 2016-2017. This represents a 30% increase over last year. To meet these objectives it needs to raise US$200,000 between now and the end of December. Royal Coffee and Swiss Water Decaffeinated have pledged to contribute $100,000 towards that target, provided Grounds for Health can raise the balance from other supporters. SCAE has made a donation to the appeal as part of its commemoration of Rashel Winn, the 2016 Irish Brewers Cup Champion who sadly lost her battle with cervical cancer and passed away just two months after winning the championship. For details of how you can contribute to this worthwhile cause, please go to or contact Catherine Holly, e:, t: +1 (802) 876 7835.

Supporting our work in origins like Kenya is a great way to give back to the communities who provide us with our coffee. As John Kariuki, Chairman of Rumukia Farmers’ Cooperative Society, notes, ‘It is great to see women in our community receiving cervical cancer screening and treatment for free. It is amazing to know our coffee industry is giving back to us in such a way through ECOM and Grounds for Health. We will support the project in mobilising our community and the women to receive the service.’

GUY STALLWORTHY is President and CEO of Grounds for Health. For more about the organisation and its work in coffee-growing communities, see

via Caboto, 31 34147 Trieste Italy CAFÉ EUROPA | WINTER 2016 21


Charting Water for Better Coffee If there is one aspect of speciality coffee that we can all agree on, it is that the quality of our water is essential for brewing great coffee. But how do we consistently ensure that high quality water brings out the best our coffee has to offer while keeping our equipment in good working order?


side from being essential to equipment maintenance, if the in water science that affect cup quality, the SCAE Water Chart SCAE WATER CHART focuses on two of the most crucial drivers for coffee extraction; water used for extraction is unsuitable it can maskTHE a coffee’s full flavour and aroma potential. Given the seemingly total hardness and alkalinity. For the large majority of tap water compositions, this represents the most practical approach to never-ending cascade of facts and information about the diverse a water composition thatCOMPOSITION allows for optimal extraction properties of water, it is difficult to build a clear picture when it 1.2 HOW TOachieve CHARACTERISE A WATER’S conditions. comes to calibrating our water for brewing consistently delicious As explained in the initial part of this section we will use equivalent units to explain the characteristics of wate Just as the Coffee Brewing Chart, introduced in the late the speciality coffee. When speaking about total hardness and alkalinity these are traditional hardness units, when referring to all 1950s, has established itself as a generally recognised method to This is particularly important when we consider the many the ionic components of water, these are equivalent units proportional to molar units (see section 6.2 for a consistently and properly brew a cup of coffee, we expect that the different compositions of water used for brewing arounddetailed the world explanation). Figure 1 shows one of the most common graphs used by water treatment specialists or SCAE Water Chart will become a reference on how to approach in cupping labs, roasteries, coffee shops and at home. Inchemists order investigating water compositions. It gives an overview on the complete composition of water and it the subject of water for coffee extraction. to provide some further clarity on this hotly debated subject, the is divided into three major sections. On the left side all ions are separated into the positive ions (cations) in the new SCAE Water Chart: Measure, Aim, Treat establishes upper a solidpart and negative ions (anions) in the lower part. In this depiction the two bars of positive and negative to measure? foundation for a unified and transparent discussion around ionswater are always ofWhat equal do size,we andneed this is because any water always has to meet charge neutrality. In other Asofwe know, pure (from watercations) consists ofbe two hydrogen atoms for coffee. to the amount of negative charges (from words, the amount positive charges has to equal combined with oneinoxygen atom give of usunit, thehere chemical Introduced to the coffee community at the Re:co Symposium anions). To be more precise this equality size is due to theto choice namely any equivalent unit H2O. However, asby water is suchand a good solvent, many in Dublin earlier this year, the SCAE Water Chart sets outwhich a handy is based onformula the number of ions multiplied their charge not based on its mass. other chemical compounds become dissolved in water, which framework for promoting an exchange of ideas about the quality The middle part of the graph shows dissolved gases, in this case carbon dioxide and its aquatic twin carbonic of the water that we use for different brewing methods. Developed is why water has a relatively high electrical conductivity. The acid. And lastly the part to thebelow right shows uncharged water, namely silicates or organic illustration shows one ofcomponents the most of common graphs used by Marco Wellinger and Samo Smrke at the Zurich University only a very minor part of the total amount of dissolved compounds which inwater most cases make upspecialists solids in the by treatment or scientists when investigating the of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) under the guidance of the Head of water. characteristics of water. » SCAE’s Research Committee, Chahan Yeretzian, the SCAE Water Chart seeks to address three fundamental questions: • Measure: What is the composition of my water in terms of total hardness and alkalinity? • Aim: What composition should I target with regard to sensory and technical considerations? • Treat: How do I choose a treatment to get me there?

Ca 2+

Mg 2+


HCO3- CO32- Cl-


SO42- NO3-

dissolved CO2

Silicates, organic compounds

carbonic acid H 2CO3

While there are many complex parameters and phenomena

Figure 1: Overall composition of water Figure 1: Overall composition of water


The pH of most tap waters is strongly influenced by excess dissolved CO 2 in the range of 5-20 mg/L (Pucko and Brooke, 1991). In equilibrium with the atmosphere water would only contain about 0.4 mg/L dissolved CO




SCAE’s Water Chart sets out a clear and accessible framework specifically designed for users to chart new waters that bring out the best our coffee has to offer. To the left of figure 1 (page 22), we can see that the positive on the upper level and negative ions below are always of equal size. This is because water must always meet charge neutrality in other words, the positive charge must be equal to the negative charge. The positive ions are most commonly dominated by magnesium (Mg2+) and calcium (Ca2+), making up total hardness, but Sodium (Na+) and Potassium (K+) also commonly occur. The negative ions are usually mostly Hydrogencarbonate (HCO3-), which makes up the alkalinity, but Sulfates (SO42-), Chlorine (Cl-) SCAE WATER CHART and Nitrate (NO3-) also often occur.


Heavy Dull Sour


Heavy Chalky Flat


What water should I be aiming for? First, water for coffee extraction should be odour-free and hygienic. The water should be completely free of chlorine, hypochlorite and chloramines, as well as taste-influencing organic compounds. These can impart a strong unpleasant flavour in the resulting brew – even at concentrations which are not perceivable in the water itself. The following two parameters set out a solid foundation for good water composition:



Total hardness (ppm CaCO3)

The middle section illustrates the dissolved uncharged solids in water such as carbon dioxide and its aquatic twin, carbonic acid. Finally, the right element of figure 1 shows the uncharged components found in water. These are namely silicates or organic compounds that make up a fraction of the dissolved solids present. Although the concept of total hardness treats magnesium and calcium ions as equals, it can be a very helpful yardstick when measuring the quality of a water’s given composition. By using this calculation, predictions about the general effects of water on flavour can be made – and crucially, a direction for choosing an appropriate water treatment can be formulated. Locally available data on water quality can be obtained freely from most providers. These often include a detailed report which breaks down essential information on a whole host of different parameters such as chemical composition, including alkalinity and total hardness and pH of the tap groundwater supplied to a specific area.

• Total hardness relates to the sum of essential flavour carriers such as magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) in equivalent concentrations in water. The recommended range of total hardness is within 50-175 ppm CaCO3



• Alkalinity is the concentration of acid-neutralising ions in water, primarily hydrogencarbonate (HCO3-). Alkalinity has a direct influence on the attenuation/buffering of acids extracted from coffee, so high alkalinity results in decreased acidity of the beverage. The recommended alkalinity should be at or near 40 ppm CaCO3 with an acceptable range of 40-75 ppm CaCO3.



Left is an illustration of SCAE’s ‘core zone’ for coffee extraction using a two-way axis of total hardness versus alkalinity.


40 Weak Sour Sharp


Weak Chalky Flat

0 0







Alkalinity (ppm CaCO3) SCAE “Core zone” for espresso machines and hot water boilers

ure 8: SCAE core zone recommendation espresso machines hotfor water boilers Figure 2:as SCAE Water Chart’sfor recommended ‘coreand zone’ total hardness and

What is the best water treatment for brewing better coffee? It can be expected that most supplies from a single groundwater source will have a high degree of stability. On the other hand, if multiple sources feed the tap water network, daily and seasonal variations in water composition may occur. If this is the case, closer monitoring may be required to detect changes from one day to the next, or over the course of a year. A good way to measure and detect changes in the water supply is with the use of an instrument called a conductivity meter – sometimes referred to as TDS meter. However, this should not be confused with refractometers which measure the strength (% TDS) of a beverage. Although this will give only a very rough estimate of a total solids content, it is a simple and inexpensive way to monitor and detect changes in the water composition of a tap source – or the efficiency of a water treatment system. Since changes in water composition can be detected by its conductivity, it offers the opportunity to monitor water quality in real-time.

alkalinity 13


CE53 Direct Trade v_02FIN 13-05-13_Cafe Europa 15/05/2013 07:29 Page 23



Brew ratio: 14.8 (325 mL water at 92°C/22 g coffee) Brew method: V60 Extraction time: 3:30 minutes Extraction yield: 20%

After measuring the initial water composition and deciding on a target for a desired water quality, the next crucial step is to choose a suitable treatment where there is a need to modulate water for coffee extraction. From commonly used ion-exchangers, such as softeners or decarbonizers, or reverse osmosis methods, there is a wide range of single or multiple water treatment systems available commercially to suit the vast majority of needs. A more detailed analysis of water treatment systems is provided in the Water Chart, circulated with the autumn issue of Café Europa and available freely to SCAE members as a download in the resource area of the website. The Study Considering the huge range of different coffee origins and varieties, roasting profiles, extraction techniques and sensory preferences, Chahan Yeretzian states: ‘The SCAE Water Chart aims to provide a distillation of the wealth of existing research and information available as well as offering a systematic approach to handling water quality. Yet this comes at the cost of some simplifications or approximations. While in the vast majority of real life situations these are absolutely justified and in fact make the beauty and usefulness of the SCAE Water Chart, it is important to be aware of these. This is particularly true when working with highest quality speciality coffee, aiming to push the boundaries and trying to extract the absolute best out of speciality coffee.’ In order to test the extraction behaviour of water explored in the SCAE Water Chart, the researchers wanted to address the specific question of how differing Mg/Ca-ratios affect

the extraction and sensory profile of a brew. They did this by modulating the proportions of Magnesium and Calcium making up a fixed total hardness (of 70 ppm CaCO3) and a fixed alkalinity at the lower end of the core zone (40 ppm CaCO3) indicated in the SCAE Water Chart. A washed Arabica Pacamara varietal from Las Quebradas Farm situated in the Chalatenango region, El Salvador, was chosen for the experiment. Regarded as a highly resilient, high yielding varietal, Pacamaras are celebrated for their balanced acidity, distinctive flavours and intense aromas whilst offering up a dense body and creamy mouth feel. A light roast degree and coarse grind size were used to optimise the filter coffee’s cup profile. The experiment set out to analyse the brew using three different Mg/Ca-ratios by measuring the following four analyses in five repetitions in order to even out random variations: • Percentage of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) corresponds to measuring the percentage of dissolved solids after filtration of suspended coffee particles in the brew using a VST LAB Coffee II Refractometer • Percentage of Total Solids (TS) is the amount of solids in the extract, including non-dissolved, suspended solids. To measure, the coffee is not filtered and a known amount of extract is dried in the oven at 105°C for 24 hours. The percentage weight of the solids that remain after drying relative to the weight of the initial extract corresponds to TS • Volatile Aroma Compounds (VAC) were measured using Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry – a highly sensitive instrument which analyses the composition of volatile organic compounds in the headspace of the coffee extract • Sensory analysis was conducted in a blind triplicate experiment by three qualified coffee cuppers to assess the sensory attributes on a scale of 0-5 (0 being the lowest intensity and 5 being the highest). »

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RESEARCH For each of the four measurements, the filter coffee was extracted with three different water types. Although the total hardness was fixed at 70 ppm CaCO3, the Mg/Ca ratio varied from 3:1 to 1:1 to 1:3. Results & Conclusion The research team found that the TDS and TS of the coffee solution remained at 1.58% for both measurements and no impact was observed with differing Mg/Ca ratios. However, significant differences were found in the sensory analysis that was conducted. Illustrated in the figure below, we can see that decreasing the concentration of magnesium as an equivalent to calcium in the water had a noticeable effect on the sensory attributes of the cup. At a ratio of 1:3 (e.g. 25% Mg to 75% Ca), the cupping panel perceived a significant increase in the intensity of astringency and bitterness while the perceived level of fruitiness in the coffee was reduced slightly. Meanwhile, the sensory attributes of acidity and sweetness remained constant throughout the experiment. The constant cupping score for body is consistent with the observation that both TDS and TS were not affected by different Mg/Ca ratios. Besides the purely scientific considerations, regional, cultural or individual preferences may also play a significant role in the choice of an optimal water composition for coffee extraction. In cities like San Francisco in the US where tap water is very soft for example (e.g. total hardness and alkalinity below 40 ppm CaCO3), this will undoubtedly influence specific taste differences, brewing or even roasting styles. But in spite of these wide variations in water composition and subjective questions of taste, SCAE’s Water Chart sets out a clear and accessible framework

specifically designed for users to chart new waters that bring out the best our coffee has to offer. Head of SCAE’s Research Committee, Chahan Yeretzian, concluded: ‘While the SCAE Water Chart establishes a solid framework for a unified and transparent discussion of water for coffee, this particular study on the Ca/Mg ratio allows developing a more refined albeit complex view on water for coffee extraction. It is particularly relevant when aiming to bringing out the best from highest quality speciality coffee. In conclusion, the SCAE Water Chart introduces clarity to this debate and serves as a useful toolbox on how to adopt the right water treatment method that works best for you, your coffee and your customers.’ SCAE’s Water Chart: Aim, Measure, Treat is freely available as a resource for SCAE members on

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The research on the SCAE Water Chart was funded by the SCAE and led by the SCAE’s Research Committee. Funding was provided by the Zurich University of Applies Sciences (ZHAW) and water companies: Brita Water and BWT water+more. The study presented in this article on the impact of the Mg/Ca ratio, was also funded by BWT water+more. The SCAE Research Committee is composed of Chahan Yeretzian, David Veal, Edouard Thomas, Frank Neuhausen, Lauro Fioretti and Morten Münchow.

Figure 3: Sensory profiles of filter coffee, extracted with water of Total Hardness of 70 ppm CaCO3 and varying Mg/Ca-ratio (1:3; 1:1, 3:1).





Roaster Camp

An Experience Like No Other The first European Roaster Camp took place in Estonia in October, bringing novice and established roasters from across Europe and around the world together to learn, network and share ideas. ANDRA VLAICU reports from the Roaster Guild of Europe (RGE) event, where she interviewed roasters at different stages of their careers for Café Europa. Images: JORDAN SANCHEZ


wo-and-a-half days, 97 attendees, 130 people in total. The first European Roaster Camp was overdue, but the wait was well worth it. Imagine this: Camp was set in Pärnu, Estonia. Experienced roasters, soon-to-be roasters and coffee lovers gathered for the first camp with excitement and nervousness and delight. New friends and old friends alike came together to share their knowledge and experiences, learn new things and roast or cup coffee. The camp was fun and amazing and different in so many ways to Barista Camp, which took place the following week at the same venue. This is normal, of course, given the fact that you are talking about disparate demographics. It was different, but awesome nonetheless. We witnessed the same excitement about coffee, just a bit more tempered. There was not the ‘I want to know everything about everything now’ attitude, but rather ‘there are so many things to learn, so little time to do it’ kind. And there were only a handful of volunteers, leading to a mission impossible-style task with one of the cuppings, but we made it alive and it was great, in the end. 28 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

Attending camp is an experience like no other. It’s hard to grasp what those couple of days are like if you’re not there. You hang out with a bunch of strangers and have meaningful conversations about coffee and gender and equal pay and sustainability. You then realise that you’re not the only one trying to change the world with coffee and to make the world a better place through coffee, all while attending coffee talks and diverse cuppings and seminars on a variety of themes revolving around the magic bean. What’s utterly amazing is the fact that people are the main denominator here. Coffee hooks people and brings them together, but then they stay because of the people, the friendships, the talks, all the knowledge-sharing that goes back and forth when you’re bouncing ideas off each other. Maybe you’ll see what I mean by reading the following interviews, with some really amazing people in coffee. And if you’re still not convinced, then there’s only one solution left: you need to come to Camp next year. It’s a must for any serious roaster!


‘The roasting community has so much to offer’ Three camp attendees at varying stages of their careers reveal how Roaster Guild can support the global roasting community. Jack Ryan, Sweden Aspiring Roaster Why did you come to Camp? I’m here because I want to kick-start my roasting career. I’m an Irish transplant in Stockholm and I have a passion for coffee. It’s been a hobby and I’m ready to turn it into a profession. When I saw a few months ago that this Camp was taking place I thought it was a sign, like this is the right time. This is the perfect kick-start in terms of knowledge and skills and also in networking as I have got to meet roasters from Sweden and Ireland and also throughout Europe. What three things have you learned at Roaster Camp? I’ve learned that data is your friend. As Joanna [Alm, Drop Coffee, Sweden] and Andy [Benedikter, Cropster] highlighted in the Follow the Curve workshop it is all about embracing the data. You must log everything and use that data to constantly improve your profile. By making data your friend you can look back at it and continuously improve. I also learned some good tips about how to win roasting championships, which may be useful some years in the future. It’s always good to have some medium-term goals! And I learned about being a lean start-up, which is giving me pause for thought because I have been writing a business plan and now everything is going to get rewritten after these three days at Camp. As Morten [Münchow, CoffeeMind] was going through the lean start-up ideas he gave me a lot of information to think about.

What lessons will you bring home with you? Most importantly to experiment and try a lot of different stuff. Up until now, I feel like I’m always following the same profiles. Of course when we get new coffees we have to make new profiles but sometimes I feel like I’m only following the curve. Here I’ve learned that it’s not about that at all, it’s about being creative. I know now that profiles should change all the time, especially with coffee aging or weather changes. I learned that I also must cup more and start really tasting what I’m doing and trying different profiles on the same bean, on the same day to see what that does. In terms of blending, I never use a colour reader and I think that’s really important. I’ve never worked with a moisture reader either and that’s important too. I learned really practical things, but also creative stuff. How can RGE support you? First of all it’s really nice what RGE is doing here at Camp. The classes are amazing and I couldn’t really choose between them because everything is very interesting. But after this you go home and it stops again, so it would be really useful if there was an online community platform where you can read more about other events, or share information and ask questions.»

How can Roaster Guild of Europe support you? With more of this – more possibilities to network. Also, for somebody just starting out and perhaps for somebody who is transitioning from barista to roaster, it would be useful to have some basic courses on everything you want to know but are afraid to ask.

Laura Polderman, The Netherlands Roaster, Lot Sixty One Why did you come to Camp? To develop my skills and to get out of my comfort zone and the way that I roast now. You stick to a certain pattern and I want to get out of that pattern and see what other options there are. I’d like to try different ways of roasting when I get back. It’s also great to meet so many interesting people. I’ve met so many people – even from the Netherlands where I’m from – that I didn’t know yet.



Mary Tellie, USA Owner, Electric City Roasting Co. & Zummo's Café, Chair of SCAA’s Roasters Guild What is the purpose of having a guild of roasters? Education is very important. The subject matter and expertise in your field is very important. Understanding the business side of what we do is extremely important. Understanding origin, coffeeproducing countries and the value chain are crucial. Through organisations like Roasters Guild we can raise standards and protocols. All of these things are reasons to be part of the Guild. How has the SCAA’s Roasters Guild evolved since its inception 16 years ago? The evolution of the guild has always put education and subject matter at the pinnacle and I’m proud of that. I think that’s the right way to do it. I’m not suggesting that we don’t have work to do, because I think we do in the way we deliver education, the way new members can access it, but those are growing pains for the guild and those are things we have to look at and are a work in progress. I think the guild has done right by the members in so far as raising the bar of understanding coffee roasting. The vision of the Roasters Guild is to be the global voice of coffee roasting professionals.


Who should join Roaster Guild? I didn’t join our guild until I thought I was a good enough roaster to join the guild, which looking back was a mistake. I should have joined the guild first and I wouldn’t have made a lot of mistakes. I know that because I could have networked with the big professionals. I could have asked questions. I didn’t have anyone to go to, I just read books. Sometimes those books were accurate, sometimes they were not, but I would not have known the difference. Part of the reason why I now volunteer my time is so that no roaster gets left behind. I know what it’s like to be that person and I think that as we move through unification it’s even more important that we include all roasters from all over the world to be part of the Roasters Guild. Wherever their country is, it would be my wish that we would have a guild or a chapter of a guild. The roasting community has so much to offer and I don’t know how many people have access to that.




out ore ab nd how m n r a a e L Europe career f o d il our r Gu Roaste port you in y p o u it can s erguildofeur m t s ea a t on ro w the lo l o f d eu. an guild_ r e t s a @ro


BRINGING THE DOUGHNUT VIBE TO THE COFFEE INDUSTRY TALOR BROWNE, the roaster, barista, Q Grader, Fryd doughnut creator and co-founder of Talor&Jørgen, which is soon to open in Oslo, talks to ANDRA VLAICU about burn out, gender inequality, microroaster challenges and why coffee could learn a lot from the doughnut business. What prompted you to start your own business? For me, the ultimate position was to work for Tim Wendelboe. When I set my goals when I first started working in coffee I said, ‘I want to work for that guy, that would be my ultimate job’. But once I reached that goal and started to outgrow the position I had no idea what else was left for me to do. I actually thought about leaving the coffee industry and was considering becoming a midwife as I have always been fascinated by childbirth. I felt burned out and thought I was done with coffee. Then I met my business partner, Jørgen Andre Hansrud, by chance at the opening of Steam Kaffebar in Østbanehallen and we immediately clicked. We saw the same values in each other, we care about quality, about integrity and we also want to have a really good time and don’t want to be pretentious about it. He was thinking about leaving the industry too as he was also burned out and he didn’t see a path for himself in the future. Then we thought, ‘should we collaborate?’ It was very fortuitous. I saw this amazing opportunity and it would have been stupid to pass it up. I could see the potential of the relationship that he and I could have. He is levelheaded and grounded, focused on quality and super upto-date with brewing devices and fancy new technology. He also happens to be way better with numbers than me. We make the perfect business pair. I had pitched an idea for a roastery to the owners of Steam as their company was large enough to sustain its own operation, rather than solely purchasing wholesale. Jørgen was really excited about it and new opportunities and we worked together on budgets to present to the owners. It was while working on those budgets, that we realised that we made an amazing team and could pursue a concept even larger than a roastery attached to Steam. The day that we presented to the owners we also presented to a group of private investors who had heard about our project. Steam wasn’t interested but the private investors were and the rest is history. It’s just the beginning for us but it's feeling really positive right now. You’re known as the Doughnut Queen. How did that come about? I got a bit burned out in 2010 as well when I was living back in Melbourne and I went to do a pastry apprenticeship. I hated it and left pretty quickly but I picked up a lot of really good skills in that short amount of time. When I moved to Oslo I was really surprised and disappointed in the lack of diversity in the food scene. So when we started talking about building a roastery and potentially building a bar that was attached to the roastery and discussed whether we should serve food, I told the guys involved in the project that I’m an almostqualified pastry chef. That’s part of my arsenal. When I told them that I’d like to make doughnuts they thought it was a stupid idea. They said Norwegians are obsessed with health food, doughnuts

Talor Browne speaking at Roaster Camp in October

will never fly and it will never work. My response was ‘Watch me!’. I went back to Melbourne and did a stage in one of my friend’s doughnut places where I spent a month making doughnuts. When I got back, I started doing pop up events. The first one I did was in my own kitchen and I had a line out of my door for two hours until we sold out. From the beginning people went crazy for them. I think they were so successful because Norwegians are ready for the food culture to change, they’re ready for it to evolve. Doughnuts look beautiful and when they taste great it's even better. How does the doughnut business compare to coffee? The whole thing about doughnuts is that I think the coffee industry takes itself too seriously. Doughnuts can’t take themselves seriously, they are so not serious that it’s funny. I want to bring the feeling that I have for the doughnuts into coffee so that it’s fun and warm and inviting and welcoming. Sometimes you walk into a café and you kind of feel a bit uncomfortable because you’re not sure how the system works. You feel like the barista is looking at you funny. I get this all the time, and I’m meant to be a professional in this industry. I don’t want to build a space that’s like that, I want to build a space that when you walk in you feel the kindness and the warmth wash over you. We’ll see if it works. I’ll give it my best shot! »



Talor and Jørgen

Both you and Jørgen have suffered from burn out in the past and it’s becoming an increasing problem in the service industry. What steps can you take to ensure your team don’t feel the same pressures? There is so much that we can do. Jørgen and I have discussed it a lot. We want to nurture our staff and get the best out of them, rather than running them into the ground and hiring fresh meat, which is pretty common practice. We want to make sure that there is more than one person staffing the bar, especially closing the store on the weekends. We want to have full scheduled paid breaks with healthy and delicious food provided for everyone. We want to make sure that each barista isn’t doing 100% of their workweek behind the bar. We hope to facilitate this by having them in the roastery, allowing them to design drinks for the bar and conducting roastery research projects that will enhance the team’s knowledge. We want to have staff dinners every few months and make sure no one is being isolated or bullied. We also want to pay a living wage. You’ve spoken about gender inequality in the coffee industry. How has this manifested itself and what can we do to address it? The way gender plays out in coffee is really obvious in our 50/50 male/female business relationship. I am the roaster and once we start producing, I will teach Jørgen how to roast. But all throughout this process of setting up the roastery, whenever we have technical questions about machinery, he is always the one that is asked. The assumption is that he knows all the answers. He’s a super good sport about it, acknowledges the bullshit I have to deal with to ‘prove myself’ in a male dominated industry and gives me a lot of room to complain but then builds systems within our organisation so it's more fair. In my career up until now, sexism in coffee has manifested itself in a lot of different ways: getting paid less for doing the same work, not having my work or qualifications recognised, missing promotions to less qualified men, having my work taken credit for by men, being sexually harassed by colleagues and employees, having bosses using their position to sexually proposition me. My authority in a management position is seen as bitchy instead of 32 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

assertive. When I am assertive I am seen as being emotional. My voice in a cupping room is usually ignored if there is more than one man in the room, regardless of my qualifications and professional history. It’s a really hard struggle to be taken seriously all the time. As for improving things, I absolutely believe we’re moving in the right direction. The Coffee Woman, Women Barista Connect and other similar events are giving women networking opportunities and allowing them to connect with other women. Putting gender equality centre stage, like Matt Slater did at Re:co Dublin with four female speakers directly tackling the subject, is also powerful. Actionable things that businesses can do are to look at the demographic of their management team and evaluate whether it could be enhanced by greater diversity, as more gender diverse teams have been proved to be more profitable. Become an ally to marginalised groups. Discuss salaries publicly. Genuinely evaluate why you value someone’s opinion. Look at your own biases. I know, for me personally, that we intend to purchase from female coffee producers where possible and I want to make sure I hire women who offer great potential and have been overlooked by our industry so far. What challenges do you face as a microroaster? The way the lack of genetic diversity is making the future of coffee look is pretty bleak. They say it’s not going to be around for long if environmental issues continue on their current trajectory. So in 50 years we might not be able to grow coffee. That is something completely out of my scope that I’m not able to change. The biggest personal challenge I face as a microroaster, however, is cashflow. I’ve been living on a barista and roaster’s salary my whole life. It’s really hard to start a business on nothing. Another challenge is that you’re very much at the mercy of green importers because you don’t have direct relationships and you don’t have trading relationships. What advice would you offer new coffee buyers? I’m cupping a lot of green and working with a lot of green companies. Having a great relationship with your importer means that you buy from them regularly so you find a supplier who has

INTERVIEW a selection that you like and whose tastes you can trust then you create a relationship with them. Rather than picking and choosing from multiple people it gives you more power when you create a relationship with the importer. But you are still genuinely at their mercy because obviously they are taking a cut. They are getting a salary off the top of the money that you are paying to get your coffee into the country. There are loads of challenges as a microroaster – where do I even begin? Everything is a challenge. What’s the next big thing in coffee? The Scandinavian light roast trend is at its peak right now, I think it’s going to start to decline because I feel like we are alienating our customers and our potential customers by underdeveloping coffees. There’s no guarantee that if you roast your coffee lightly that it's going to taste good. And for me personally, I would much rather reach a broader audience with a less challenging coffee than buy something really weird and wacky and acidic, roast it really light, and have coffee geeks lose their mind over it. I would rather appeal to a broader mass of people than a very select, small group. I think interaction is going to be the next big focus. You can see G&B Coffee in Los Angeles is part of this younger generation of people growing up and starting their own businesses. Their focus is on customer service and customer interaction. You hear people like Kalle Fresse referring to it when he talks about Sudden. For him it's more about the interaction and getting the product to the customer so that it's easy to drink and ready to drink. It’s all about us making it easy for our customers to interact with our products and our businesses without challenging people and making them feel stupid. I heard Peter Guiliano (SCAA) talking about how empathy is more important a skill for baristas than coffee-making and it’s absolutely true. The experience that you give someone more than the actual drink can make or break a person’s visit and how they interact with the product. That’s my two cents on it anyway!

How can organisations like the Roaster Guild of Europe support roasters? By creating paths for people like myself who have been in the industry a really long time and who were already qualified by the time the ASTs and training modules were developed. Finding a way to integrate these people into that training system would be very helpful because right now it’s a little flawed. You have people who are new to coffee not that long ago who are able to train in the SCAE education system and who are now qualified to train other people but you also have that first wave of people who were probably beyond that base learning curve and who now don’t have that formal education. Finding pathways to integrate these two groups of people will lend a little bit more integrity to those training modules. Other than that, planning events like Roaster Camp is a great way to support the industry. What makes you thrive in coffee? The relationships. I could take or leave quality coffee and all of the other stuff but it’s the friendships and conversations, the feeling of solidarity, seeing yourself in other people and watching your friends succeed that really matter. Without people, what do you have? What words of wisdom can you offer someone starting in coffee? I think that everyone’s opinion has value. I’ve been doing this for ages and for a really long time I didn’t think that I had anything of value to add to this industry. I think that I’m not the only person who has that opinion of themselves. I lament the years that I wasted not having the courage to speak up. If I could offer any words of advice it's that our industry would be richer for the varied array of opinions and ideas that could come from people who aren’t institutionalised by this speciality coffee way of thinking. There’s a lot of power in people in speaking up and sharing their opinions. So don’t wait – you’re allowed to share your voice!

Follow Talor @tataterrific and Talor&Jørgen @talor&jorgen

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Take 5… At this year's Barista Camp in Estonia, RICHARD STILLER met SVEN KONOPKA, a barista at Akzent Kaffeehaus in Germany. He asked Sven about his experience at his first Camp. Image: JORDAN SANCHEZ

1. How did the Barista Camp change your views of working as a barista? I gained massive insight – for example how the work of other baristas can look differently in their specific circumstances. Also I learned that there is much to be learned. I learned that I know less than I thought I knew. Finally, I learned much that I would like to take home and implement in my everyday life; to become more professional and to offer my customers more than ‘just’ an espresso or milk-based beverages. I want to offer speciality coffee in its purest form. I would like to become an ambassador for speciality coffee every day in my shop.

2. What will you change when you get back to your job? First of all, I have to digest all the shared knowledge and ideas I picked up here in Barista Camp. I definitely want to implement a brew bar in the café where I work. I will probably start with something simple, like a batch-brewer with rotating coffees that our customers have not tasted before. This way customers will be able to try out filter coffee in the city where I’m from and this does not exist there at all at the moment. On top of that, what I would love is to bring more filter equipment, like an Aeropress, from home and integrate it into our menu. This is something I have done before but not made a big splash about. I would at least like to offer this service to regulars so they know they can get it, even if it’s not officially on the menu.

3. Why did you volunteer and would you encourage other people to volunteer? I applied without really knowing what I was getting myself into. I knew that being a volunteer would mean helping and supporting trainers in their courses, but what that exactly involved was not really clear to me. The only certain assumption that I made was that I would be amongst other crazy coffee people. I wanted to throw myself into a situation where I would spend a couple of days with other coffee nerds, where I would not be the misfit anymore. I was among people where I know what they are talking about, who give valuable feedback, share knowledge and share their views on topics. To be part of Barista Camp made me appreciate the knowledge that is gained when people share. On 34 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

top of that, it made me appreciate being part of the community I have which I had mainly connected to through social media. By following the news, stories and pictures I know what is happening in the coffee world, but this Barista Camp made me feel part of the community, not just an observer. I know people in the coffee landscape, but I really wanted to dive into it this time.

4. Did you dive in? Absolutely! I know Annemarie [Tiemes, SCAE’s Education Field Manager] from following her journeys around the globe on Facebook for years. I knew that she was connected to education. Isa [Verschraegen, Barista Guild of Europe Manager] and Ben [Townsend, BGE Education Coordinator] and all the other people at Camp were big names for me before I came here. I knew that they were people that move things forward in the coffee scene so to meet them at the breakfast table and have a normal, easy-going conversation with them was amazing. I felt a bit intimidated at the beginning because I did not want to ask any stupid questions. However, I soon realised that there are no arrogant people at Barista Camp and that all questions were appreciated. To talk with these people on an eye-to-eye basis was an experience I would not want to have missed! Finally, I would not encourage just anybody to go to Barista Camp; if you go, you should be really interested in coffee!

5. Are you planning to come to Camp next year again? Yes, absolutely! As soon as the application process is open again, I will apply to volunteer. However, depending on which classes will be offered, I might come as a participant. Though I enjoyed the role as a volunteer very much, getting to know the Coffee Diploma System modules from the inside and working closely with a trainer gave me useful insights. Also I think I would enjoy the community and gathering of baristas from all over Europe more without the stress of having an exam the next day.

For more on Barista Camp and other events and initiatives from Barista Guild of Europe, please see and follow the team @baristaguild_eu Follow Sven @barista_sven_konopka





San Ignacio, Cajamarca

ELIZABETH BARRY reflects on Peru’s recent success at sustainably increasing coffee quality and yields, and the country’s wider commitment to sustainable extensive agriculture.


eru is home to some of the world’s highest mountains and deepest jungles, and this exotic country entices over three million visitors each year. Today visitors are not only drawn to the country for its dramatic scenery, Peruvian cuisine offers as diverse a fusion of flavours as varied as its landscape and deserves its international reputation as an important destination for gourmet ‘foodies’. The capital Lima hosts several of the world’s best restaurants, notably for its development of fresh and unique delicacies of raw fish (ceviche) as well as more traditional peculiarities such as deep fried guinea pig (cue). Worldwide, roasters have also been increasingly seduced by the lure of Peruvian coffee. Offering an array of solid cup profiles, certified coffees and consistent commercial qualities, this origin has excelled to rank as one of the top five largest producers of washed Arabica over the past decade. Peru’s steadfast and visionary long-term development in both the kitchen and field is admirable. Peru is a thriving flagship for food and coffee spurred on by an unquenchable thirst for quality and sustainability. In the coffee world, Peru is the essential summer crop providing fresh coffee to roasters when they need it most. And 36 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

now, with expanded production, a focus on high quality and global leadership in sustainable production, Peru is stepping further into the limelight, ensuring a firm foothold in both speciality and commercial coffee. Peru covers a strip of almost 1.3 million square kilometres with the Andes Range running its length, bordered by the Pacific coastline on the west. The country can be split into three main regions – the coastal region is a narrow desert-like plain, the selva is the giant lush, flat plain of the Amazon Rainforest, and the sierra describes the highlands and mountains, all the main coffee regions are found here. Peru produces a yearly coffee average of more than 4.2 million 60kg bags (280,000 metric tons) making coffee its main agricultural export. Since working in the coffee industry I have found one of the most promising aspects of its expansion is the ‘green’ potential. I have always been drawn to both farms and the outdoors and have been eager to learn more about agriculture and its integration and co-existence with the natural environment and its role in rural communities. In Vietnam I discovered how intensive farming can be, but also how adept the Vietnamese were at it, especially the cultivation of plants. In Uganda, where both yields and farming intensity are »


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The team at Prodelsur's branch in Jaen

low, the benefits of training as a means to improve production and quality have been clearly apparent. Among others, producing countries such as Uganda, Indonesia and Honduras are also taking active steps toward improving the environment both on and off the farms. In all, the benefits of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are very clear. GAPs include a wide scope of monitored and controlled activities such as pruning, well-timed irrigation and fertilisation, the correct application and amount used of agricultural inputs (pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides), soil conservation, biodiversity and intercropping. Training is essential. The production per hectare, efficiency and so sustainability of a farm can be greatly

You are experts in Coffee… 38 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

increased through the right implementation of these activities. Volcafe’s sister company in Peru, Prodelsur, is at the forefront of implementing GAPs. The company has developed a sturdy presence in the field giving farmer support and training in GAPs, harvesting and post-harvest activities to 3,600 farmers. On a recent visit I discovered that, by combining tight traceability with a strong and active network of knowledgeable field technicians, the production process, quality and yields of coffee have been greatly improved. By placing quality and sustainability at the head of its business, supported by strong company values and knowledge exchange with farmers, Prodelsur is firmly on the map. During my stay I travelled to the northern coffee producing province of Cajamarca accompanied by Prodelsur’s Commercial & Assistant General Manager, Roberto Ortiz, and their regional Purchase Manager, Jose Luis Diaz. Their hospitality, willingness and passion for sustainability were clear from the outset. It was noteworthy to see that such genuine relationships had been forged between the Prodelsur team members and the farmers that we visited. One particularly memorable day was spent driving out towards El Lirio, named after the wild lilies found growing throughout the farms. A narrow and winding road led us from Jaen, the region’s main town, high through the mountains up to 1,400 metres above sea level. With the rainy season yet to start the landscape was arid and coffee cultivation seemed unlikely here. Many areas in this region have suffered significant drought over the last season and farmers were eagerly waiting for the rains to return. As we crossed through the mountains the landscape was transformed, different plants emerged from the dusty moonscape glistening with green life. There is nothing quite like the first glimpse of a coffee farm after a long journey. We stopped at a number of farms to talk to their owners, hiking through plantations, studying their beneficios (wet mills) and trees. The beneficios were occasionally rudimentary but worked well. The plantations were well kept and full of life: bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and wildflowers dotted the scenery. Traditional Production In Peru most farms are smallholdings of two hectares. Farmers follow traditional production methods – handpicking, processing and drying their own coffee onsite to produce dry pergamino (parchment) ready for sale. Prodelsur field technicians advise farmers to plant around 5,000 trees per hectare with strict spacing to maintain productivity and reduce the risk of the spread of diseases such as La Roya (Coffee Leaf Rust). Generally these are terraced along steep slopes and are often intercropped with cassava and shade trees.


PERU AT A GLANCE Population: 29 million Coffee Share of Exports: 2.6% Average Annual Coffee Production: Four million 60 kilo bags Coffee Hectarage: 600,000 hectares Number of Coffee Farms: 150,000 farmers Average Farm Size: 1-2 hectares Productivity: 7-20 bags of 60 kilo per hectare Varietals: Typica & Bourbon (40%), Catimor (20%), Caturra & Catuai (30%), Other (10%) Altitude: 800-2000 metres above sea level Harvest: March-October (regional variations) Prodelsur field technicians in the coffee plantation in San Ignacio Cajamarca

Navigating the plantations is a good workout – one older farmer we visited, Sn. Isidro Quispe, shot up the slope so fast, effortlessly climbing 200 metres in altitude. I imagined scaling such slopes during the rainy season: farming is not for the faint hearted. Although this was my first time in South America, coffee farms feel and smell deeply familiar. The distinct odour of pungent, sticky coffee pulp as you near a wet mill and the delicate sweet jasmine scent of coffee blossom do not change much from one origin to another. Some aspects on the other hand could not be more different. I was overwhelmed with the openness of our discussions with the farmers we met. It was a very different experience from Vietnam where the language barrier and cultural variances were often more complex. There were other differences. Markedly the role of a Vietnamese Arabica farmer in the supply chain stops once freshly harvested coffee cherries are sold, and so their outlook and skill set differs. In Peru, like many traditional Latin American origins, farmers need the technical ability to harvest, process, and dry their coffee. The process is multifaceted with more emphasis on the role of the individual farmer; with several different steps in the overall process there are often gains to be had with effective knowledge transfer. I was impressed by the Peruvian farmers’ studious attention to the advice and guidance from the Prodelsur field technicians and there was much to talk about. There was a clear mutual respect for each other’s expertise, experience and above all an understanding of their partnership in the supply chain. In Peru there are two main coffee regions: the central region (Cusco and Junin provinces account for 45% of production) and the northern provinces of San Martin and Cajamarca which I was fortunate to visit. Jaén and San Ignacio, in Cajamarca, each have dedicated teams circulating and offering agricultural advice and support, as well as storage warehouses and fully equipped cupping labs. Quality control takes place at the source placing an emphasis on traceability. Lots are efficiently and accurately graded and issues can be identified on a farm-by-farm basis. We cupped a range of fresh samples delivered by some local farmers. Though all were from the same region there were clear differences in the cup profiles. Two samples were particularly outstanding. Both of these came from a farm specifically cultivating Bourbon and Typica varieties. The cup profiles were elegant and complex, the Bourbon sweeter with more body, the other a sharper acidity. Peru clearly has a strong aptitude for producing high quality micro lots and speciality coffees alongside its mainstream grades.

Northern Coffee Region: Cajamarca (35%), San Martín (20%), Junin (30%), Cusco (15%)

Sustainable Expansion Peru’s coffee production has greatly expanded over the past 20 years through targeted efforts and investment from the industry. The total growing area was increased from 200,000 hectares (1.5 million 60 kg bags) in the mid-1990s to reach over half a million hectares since 2014. However, focus has turned from increasing expansion to increasing yields. A key factor to sustainable farming is improving yields and efficiency. Yields have remained fairly low in Peru in comparison with neighbouring producers: Colombia’s average is 20 quintales per hectare versus Peru’s average of seven quintales (around 320kg of green coffee). Many of the farmers supported by the »

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ORIGIN Prodelsur field teams have managed to more than triple their yields to 20-25 quintales per hectare, some even reaching over 30 quintales. One quintal of pergamino is equivalent to 46kg of green coffee. That means on a farm producing 20 quintales, each tree produces a rough equivalent of 10-and-a-half cups of espresso per tree (if using a 14 gram espresso basket). Yields have been improved in several ways – increasing individual tree productivity is the first step, by maintaining healthy trees and replanting those that are older and less productive. For example, the climatic seasonality and micro-climates of the region mean that, as with most agriculture, timing is key. When replacing older trees it is vital that seedlings are transferred from the nursery and planted at the right time of year to ensure that they mature into productivity as soon as possible. Planting them out even a month too late can mean the farmer will miss the first cycle of harvesting which could significantly reduce the farm’s annual productivity. It seems simple on paper. However, when we visited another farm where re-planting had been too late because the farmer had chosen to stay in the city to care for his sick mother, the complications of farming life struck me.

Achieving sustainable production can be complicated and testing. Tight controls and efficient methods are needed at every step to ensure farms can produce enough volume of high quality beans to make the returns of farming coffee worthwhile.

El Lirio coffee plantation

Achieving sustainable production can be complicated and testing. Tight controls and efficient methods are needed at every step to ensure farms can produce enough volume of high quality beans to make the returns of farming coffee worthwhile. Despite the complexities, I saw some revolutionary yet incredibly simple techniques being employed. I was impressed by an irrigation system installation that omitted the need for an electric pump by using a simple metal device to constrict water flow and generate pressure to irrigate the entire farm pumping water 20 metres uphill. The same farm had a large pipe set in the ground that is used to send freshly pulped coffee from the top of the plantation down to the bottom effortlessly. Roberto Ortiz described a sustainability project they are embarking on to give farmers access to proper materials to construct effective drying tunnels in order to improve bean quality. In this case the company has been able to negotiate wholesale rates with a tarpaulin supplier with specific designs that aid coffee drying. Normally this is a preventively expensive material. Farmers also receive guidance and training on construction of effective and efficient drying facilities. The project also encourages farmers to grow bamboo – a renewable source of timber with which they can construct frames for the drying tunnels and other farm structures. One reason why Prodelsur’s work in the field is so important is that, unlike Colombia or Costa Rica, Peru does not have a national body to steer coffee production. Colombian farmers share a monthly publication from the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) that offered detailed pictures, designs and ideas, for example of how to construct a suitable drying tunnel. Peruvian farmers simply would not have access to this information without the industry stepping in. It has been fascinating to experience Peruvian coffee production first-hand. The industry has an unswerving commitment to improving quality and sustainability through rigorous attention to detail and dedication. Challenges faced are often tackled with entrepreneurial flare drawing on modern techniques and expertise with a genuine passion for developing the sector. It would not come as a surprise to see Peru become a key player in the world of speciality, with gourmet coffees to match its other culinary delights!

Cupping in Lima


ELIZABETH BARRY has worked with Volcafe for over five years during which time she has gained experience exporting and importing both speciality and commercial green coffee. Elizabeth returned from her postings in Vietnam and Australia to join Volcafe’s head office one year ago where she now focuses on coffee sales into the UK and supports the commercial trading desk with Centrals and Brazils. For more, see


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How To… Clean Your Machine

Cleaning your machine correctly is not a sexy topic, but it is crucial to maintaining and raising the standard of your coffee, advises GWILYM DAVIES.


n 2009, when the speciality coffee scene was just emerging in London, a Coffee Symposium was held. Members of the establishment met the new coffee rebels in a series of inspirational speeches. The memory of James Hoffmann making, and then auctioning, a French Press to a confused audience has amused me for years, but then James amusing (and inspiring) me is not an uncommon experience. What I took from the Symposium, however, was Louis Salvone posing the crucial question – ‘what is the one thing we can do now to improve coffee in London?’ Louis argued that it was as simple as cleaning a coffee machine. He argued that there would be an 80% increase in quality across London if all places serving coffee cleaned their machines. The simplicity of this answer fascinated me. Of course he made it up in the moment and it was a random figure not a real one, but I loved the answer. It matched my experiences, reinforced my views and made me think. I am not naturally a tidy person or obsessive about cleanliness, if I was I could have never lived on a boat for eight years constantly moving around London’s waterways. However, being a barista has gradually changed me into someone fixated on cleanliness, order 42 WINTER 2016 | CAFÉ EUROPA

and precision. Everything behind a good bar has a specific place and purpose – from cloths to cup handles, everything is clean and ordered. When I came to London in 1998 there was no speciality coffee, we had to create a market for it and our secret weapon was having clean equipment. It is not as sexy a subject as traceability and latte art but we learnt early on that a dirty machine does not make tasty coffee and if we had clean machines our coffee will always taste better. A dirty machine has residues, giving a lack of clarity with a dirty bitterness that stays with you at the end. These residues can also create channelling and uneven extraction by altering the flow of water coming onto and through the coffee. A clean machine also lasts longer and breaks less often and this was particularly important to us as, before winning the World Barista Championship in 2009 and collecting a new machine from the sponsors Nuova Simonelli, I was working on a 10-year-old espresso machine with no flow restriction. How clean is clean? We all have different standards when it comes to how clean a machine should be but what is definite though is, as customer expectations have increased and the coffees we are using have increased in quality, what defines a clean machine has changed.

ADVICE There have been simple innovations like coated portafilters and autobackflushing machines but the main thing that will keep a machine clean is us. Below is what I see as the minimum of what needs to be done to be of a standard that will allow the coffee to show how tasty it can be. The obvious and the constant: • Flush the grouphead between shots; a short 15-20ml flush of water is enough to clean a shower screen. Machines that are not temperature stable may need a longer flush to stabilise temperature (seeing long flushes pains me, it is such a waste of money and resources to filter water, heat it and then throw it away unnecessarily). I also give the shower screen an intermittent wipe with a cloth. • Dry clean filter basket. All that remains in used coffee grounds are bitter and ashy flavours with a dry finish so always clean the inside of the filter basket before putting in fresh grounds.

End of day: Espresso Machine • Backflush with cleaning powder and rinse well. Espresso machines with auto backflush are great time savers, otherwise you have to stand by the machine turning each group head on and off every 8-10 seconds. Follow the instructions on the side of the container holding your espresso cleaning powder. Note: backflush with the screens still in, do not backflush with them removed. • Portafilter – remove and thoroughly clean the basket and the wire that keeps the basket in the portafilter (retaining clip). Clean the inside of the portafilter including the hole leading to the spouts. Do not scrub Teflon-lined portafilters. • Spouts – some portafilters allow you to remove the spouts for cleaning. If yours do not there are various small pipe brushes that can be used. Spouts are a common cause of an ashy carbon taste from an otherwise clean machine.

• If the puck sticks to the shower screen you will need to use a small brush to remove grinds from the side of the screens and blocks, a flush of water only removes residue from the bottom of the shower screen.

• Remove and clean shower screen. If you have the E61 shower screen this will be more difficult to remove and I would only do it weekly. On some machines a metal block also comes down with the shower screen. Be very careful with the screw, do not lose it down the sink.

• Wipe the drip tray. How often you need to do this depends on the drip tray. The purpose is to stop wet rings and coffee grinds under the cup. Some really do not need it often and others need it all the time.

• Steam tip – make sure it is clean and the holes are not blocked. If you purge and correctly wipe the wand during the day. It should be clean at the end of the day.

• Clean steam wand. Purge and wipe after each use ensuring the bottom of the steam tip is clean. Cool touch steam wands make this easier. • Wipe the spills and dust from the surface of the machine. During the day: At least three times during the day – mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon • Portafilter – remove filter basket, clean the basket, inside of the portafilter and spouts. • Shower screen should be scrubbed with the grouphead brush and rinsed with a flush. It is more effective to scrub then flush rather than scrub while the water is running, it also means your brush will last longer. • Quick backflush – insert the blank basket into the portafilter and give the grouphead a quick clean by 'wiggling' it side to side with the water running. (This used to be called butterflying, which is a nice term. I wish it came back.)

• Clear the drainage. There is a drainage box under the drip tray where wastewater collects on its way away from the machine. This should be clean and clear of obstructions like coffee grinds or beans. Backflushing the espresso machine regularly with cleaner will help keep this clear. Pouring hot water down helps but be careful of pouring too much boiling water down this if you have plastic pipes. • Wipe machine. Wipe and shine up the machine ready for tomorrow. Grinder Do not forget about your grinder. Your ability to clean around the burrs is different for each grinder but cleaning the rest of the grinder is a standard routine. • Before cleaning the grinder, turn it off, I have had too many close encounters with the sharp blades to trust myself at the end of a hard day: be safe, turn it off at the plug. • Remove the hopper then remove the beans and all the ones you can reach above the blades. Store the beans in a sealed container in a dark cool place. »


ADVICE • Clear grinder of as much coffee grounds as you can reach; a small cheap vacuum cleaner can change your life.

Weekly Espresso Machine

to zero every time the barista does a quick brush of the group seal, ‘wiggling’ back flush and rinse of the portafilter. The aim is to never let it climb above 30 minutes. At midday we will remove and clean the shower screen, do a complete clean of the portafilter and basket, backflush with espresso cleaner. By rinsing thoroughly after backflushing with cleaning powder we have no issues with tasting the powder in the espresso. Since 2009 we have not wasted coffee by running through shots to clear the grouphead of cleaning powder and have never tasted cleaning powder in the first shots.

• 1 5-20 minute soak of portafilters, filter baskets and shower screen in the espresso machine cleaning chemicals: I dissolve half a teaspoon of powder with a small amount of hot water into my container, put in the portafilters etc. add cold water then heat the water up using the steam wand until just before boiling. The

Definitions Living my life around people who do not have English as their first language I always find it useful to define common English terms as I realise they are not common for everyone.

• Wash the hopper and lid with a very, very small amount of (odourless) washing up liquid, dry it thoroughly and leave it at the side of the grinder until the morning. • Wipe the surface of the grinder clear of coffee grounds and marks.

A dirty machine has residues, giving a lack of clarity with a dirty bitterness that stays with you at the end. These residues can also create channelling and uneven extraction by altering the flow of water coming onto and through the coffee. A clean machine also lasts longer and breaks less often. agitation and extra heat helps the cleaning process. Rinse well with clean water. • Empty the steam boiler. If this is difficult to do on your machine then empty two litres of water each day from the hot water dispensing tap. Refilling with fresh water is important for both taste reasons and to reduce the risk of scale (mineral deposits). Grinder The easiest grinders to clean are those where the top burr can be removed with a few screws and replaced to the same grind position, if you have one where the entire top burr needs unscrewing make sure the thread (the bit that you screw it back onto) is clean and you screw it back gently. A dry cloth and a toothbrush make a good cleaning team for the thread. • I f you can take the burrs off clean coffee grinds from the inside with a brush and ideally a vacuum cleaner, use a hard brush to scrub the blades. A toothbrush works well. • If you cannot take the burrs off, use a grinder cleaner. Some café owners will not allow you to take off the burrs and, with some grinder designs, it is almost impossible to access the burrs. In this situation, use a grinder cleaner, this is a granule or powder that you grind to clean the blades. At Prufrock At my café in London we have developed strict cleaning protocols that seem impossible to implement. These are, however, now part of the culture and seen as normal by the staff. At the centre of our cleaning protocol is a timer that sits on the espresso machine and counts upwards from zero. The timer is reset


rouphead: the area where the portafilter handle goes and espresso G is brewed from. Portafilter: the group handle that holds the filter basket, portable filter. hower screen: the screen in each grouphead with holes in it, where S the water comes from to brew the coffee. lush: running water through the grouphead without the portafilter F inserted. uck: the used coffee left in the filter basket, called a biscuit in some P countries. pouts: the things on the bottom of the portafilter where the coffee S falls from, I heard them being called splitters when in Seattle. rip tray: the removable tray to catch drips that the cups sit on while D the espresso is brewing into them. Steam tip: the thing on the end of the Steamwand with the holes in it. Vacuum cleaner: dust sucker, Hoover, Lux. opper: the container on top of the grinder holding the coffee beans H before they are ground. urrs: these cut/grind the beans, also called blades and in some B countries described as stones.

GWILYM DAVIES is Director of Prufrock Coffee, 2009 UK and World Barista Champion, World Coffee Events Certified Judge and World Coffee Events Representative. Gwilym wrote this ‘How To’ Guide for SCAE in cooperation with Nuova Simonelli. To download a copy of this guide and other guides in the ‘How To’ series, please visit the members lounge on






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Costa Rica

COLIN SMITH reviews SCAE’s field trip to the Central American origin.


hanks to the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica (SCACR), SCAE was fortunate to enjoy a week’s visit to coffee plantations and mills earlier this year. The SCAE party consisted of 10 people who gathered at the Tryp Hotel in San Jose for dinner on Sunday evening. Early the next morning, with our guide Jose Solis, the Technical Director from SCACR, we were off to our first visit, Vista al Valle, a farm and micro mill in the West Valley, owned by Oldemar Arrieta Lobo. Producing 300,000 bags per year, this family business is a Cup of Excellence winner growing coffee at 1,600 metres. As is the development of coffee in Costa Rica, they are producing a range of honey coffees from many cultivars of tree. Our next call was to Helsar de Zarcero, which produces standard and organic coffees. Under the ownership of Ricardo and Mariana Barrantes, the farm has developed immensely since I last visited in 2008. By bringing in pickers from Nicaragua, introducing a sustainability programme which has increased the yield of the farm seven fold and gaining organic certification on a soil

rejuvenation project, they have improved the coffee quality no end and created a variety of differently processed coffees. One fascinating development is the production of cascara from the organic crop. The production for dried skin and pulp has now reached 5,000kg in 4kg boxes. The fruit has a high caffeine content for drinks and is also the basis for bread and cascara rolls. We were treated to these products at the end of our tour. After a night at San Remon we visited the Beneficio Santa Anita – Agricola El Cantaro Mill in Heredia (Central Valley). The striking view on arrival was the huge number of solar panels to power the plant. At $160,000, this will pay for itself in seven years. Some 200 farms feed the beneficio, with 140 hectares of their own farms. The operation was started on the Pacific coast by the grandfather of Sanchez Gonzales and the present mill opened in 1990. The mill processes mainly bulk production of 12,000 bags per year, although some special preparations of speciality and honey coffees are also prepared. » CAFÉ EUROPA | WINTER 2016 47




JOIN SCAE ON TOUR SCAE is planning field trips to Mexico, East Java and Bali, Brazil and Ethiopia in 2017. To join SCAE on tour, please email our Field Trip Coordinator, Colin Smith, at and stay tuned to for further details.

Moving on to the oldest mill in Costa Rica we next visited The Victoria Cooperative, which produces sugar as well as coffee. The coffee amounts to 70,000 quintales (36kg parchment = 1 quintale) per year from 3,000 producers. Between 10-15 bags constitute a microlot which is processed separately. The Cooperative does most of its work at night to save electricity costs. Before we left we cupped four coffees, including some excellent Geishas with its light fruity notes. Coricafe is the largest exporter in Costa Rica at 350,000 bags per year. It is highly mechanised with modern machinery and it was great to experience how coffee is handled in such huge quantities. Eric Thormaehlen, Vice President of Coricafe, gave us a most instructive lecture on separation of quality and the pricing structure within the industry. Although such significant quantities of coffee are being processed, the company is able to suit the coffees that it exports to the prospective clients. We enjoyed another interesting table of coffees to cup before we left to visit the OOIcafe Research Institute. Here they cup from the eight different regions, doing soil studies to compare the chemical constituents of the coffee beans. They are also working on a fungus to beat the infestation of the coffee borer beetle and developing new varieties that are resistant to diseases such as leaf spot. The cupping session concentrated on the differences that occur as a result of variations in processing method. The ‘honey’ process is divided into black honey, red honey, yellow honey and honey. They are created by leaving various percentages of mucilage on the parchment, 80-85%, 25%, 50% and 100% respectively. The resulting flavour of the coffee is sweetened accordingly, adding fruit flavours to the profile. During a morning spent at the offices of the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica, Francois Castells, President of the Association, gave an overview of the speciality production. Reduction in land due to real estate costs have led the farmers to specialise in growing and processing methods, thus increasing the price of the coffee. They have seen a reduction in output from four to two million quintales, and 216 to 140 micromills. Zalmari Mill in the Cachi Valley, Tarrazu district, is an inclusive, independent operation run by ladies who are members of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. Here we saw mechanical dryers coping with the parchment due to the wet weather in this area. The farming produces 170,000kg of green bean and 110,000 roasted coffee for the local market. With a hotel and a small town, the community also provides holiday accommodation for visitors. The Tarrazu Coop processes 10% of Costa Rica’s coffee (3,000bags/day for six weeks). The Coop has 3,000 members and 36 receiving stations. In its development, it has incorporated environmental technology with solar panels to produce electricity and a water cleaning system. The Coop has its own Community Programme, providing farmer training to help them work towards high grades of speciality coffees. Here we were introduced to the Obata variety of trees that is a Sarchimor cross, resistant to rust. Another large mill we visited was Coopedota, processing and selling two containers a day, equating to 50,000 bags per year. Although the mill processes very large quantities it also has a facility for small microlots and trains baristas in its café. Our visit ended with a cupping of coffee prepared through different

processes. We spent that at 2,000 metres in Casona del Cafetal Hotel and enjoyed a swim in the Chucaras hot springs, even though it was still raining! On our return to San Jose we visited the Rio Jorge Coffee Mill and Farm, where many microlots from the surrounding region are processed. Our last call was at Volcafe’s San Diego Mill which has collecting stations in each community, alongside 50% from its own farms. Volcafé's efficiency is an important part of the operation, collecting from the farms at 6pm and processing at 8pm. On average it processes 2,000-3,000 quintales per day. They hold a series of certifications and our tour ended with a tasting of four different coffees. On the last day some of us visited a small speciality roaster/ coffee shop, The Costa Rica Coffee Academy, where the highest quality speciality coffees from a variety of regions are on offer. Lunch was held at Café Kalu, and in the associated coffee shop, CafeOteca we enjoyed estate coffees prepared differently, each one preceded by an explanation of its heritage, cultivation, and flavour characteristics. The knowledgeable SCACR qualified barista, Marco, explained how the coffee related to the area of Costa Rica where it was grown. It was a novel way of introducing different coffees to help consumers understand the differences. Later in the afternoon at Francisco Mena’s ‘Exclusive Coffees’ we were able to sample 24 coffees from various microlots all over the country. He sources quality speciality coffee from 100 microlots which have complete traceability. For the smaller roaster he can offer excellent speciality coffees in small lots, shipped all over the world and he also ships to Cascara for those experimenting with this new market. Our visit to Costa Rica enabled us to get a glimpse of how this lovely coffee is becoming more specialised through care in growing and processing. Our thanks go to Noelia Villalobos, Director of SCACR, and our guides, Maria Alpizar and Jose Solis, who made it all possible.




The Authorised SCAE Trainer and Head of Coffee, Training and Development at Extract Coffee Roaster in the UK, chatted to ANDRA VLAICU at Barista Camp.

How did you get into coffee? I’ve had a long career in hospitality. I started washing dishes when I was 14 years old in a café in a place called Taihape in the middle of New Zealand. I had no idea about coffee and it wasn’t until a few years later that I learned how to make it using Illy. I read the little book that came with it, tried to play around and whenever the rep came in to town I would always ask him what I was doing wrong and I took it from there. I worked as a chef for a long time but I always jumped back into coffee as I enjoyed it. The first time one of my customers told me that one of the team that I trained made a really good coffee I got a great sense of satisfaction. I thought training was pretty good. Why did you become an AST? I came across a City & Guilds qualification that was run by the British Coffee Association at a trade show. At that time, coffee in the UK was not very good so I was curious about who was teaching it and what else there was to learn. They suggested I contact Gayle Reed at the London School of Coffee who I cold called and told I had a bunch of experience. She offered me a position as a trainer of non-certificate training for one day a month. I was still working in restaurants then but I was really jaded with the industry. Coffee training was a sanctuary for me. When I asked for more work Gayle advised that the industry was moving more towards qualifications. She was a huge help and support to me in becoming an AST. So with the help of Tim Sturk and Paul Meikle-Janney I did the AST course. I’ve completed the Barista Skills and the Brewing module and I got my diploma earlier this year. I was really stoked. I left school at 16 so I don’t have any other qualifications. I did a chefs course but that was years ago. What lessons have you learned in coffee? You’ll never figure all of the coffee out. The landscapes keep changing. The last four or five years the change in equipment is immense. The barista competitions, whether that’s your passion or not, have put machines in the spotlight and those machines have got so much better recently. It’s a challenge just to keep up with that alone. There are so many different good, strong manufacturers now. In terms of coffee processing, there is so much more information readily available today. I find the students are coming into the classes with much more complex questions. It’s important to make sure that as a trainer you know much more than just the subject you’re teaching. Even though there’s a curriculum that you have to keep on track, you’re going to get asked questions on lunch break that are far from what you’re teaching and I think that I’d feel really vulnerable if I didn’t have more answers.


Image: Jordan Sanchez

I haven’t mastered roasting yet, I’ve done a little bit of sample roasting but I’ve never had a lot of time to spend on it, but definitely the green and the sensory are the next big challenges for me. I’ve done the intermediate level in both of them but I have my sights set on the professional level. What advice would you offer budding baristas? Keep your eyes open, keep your ears open and be humble when you get that knowledge. Keep learning and listen when people have something to say. What improvements would you like to see in the coffee industry? There are so many people who are so intent on improving it all the time that there’s a huge amount of momentum and energy at the moment. There are so many people who are spending a lot of time writing blogs and books trying to push their knowledge and it’s nice that a lot of that is free and available. I also think it’s exciting to merge with the SCAA. It’s going to be really interesting. In terms of improving the industry, I think the customer service thing – what I would call hospitality and how to be hospitable – has to be put in place. I’ve always come from a hospitality background and I think that if you treat your customers with respect and warmth then you will have a business. Yes, you need to know your stuff. Yes, you need to know your equipment. Yes, you need to make nice coffee. That should be a given. That’s your job. Then you need to share that knowledge with people around you who want to learn. The hospitality element needs to be reinforced. What goes well with coffee? Time. We get takeaway coffees all the time, we talk about it a lot, but sometimes it’s just nice to sit and drink it and chill.

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