by Daniela Cuneo
Coffee is one of the most widely-consumed drinks around the world: Millions of people (and yes, I am one of those!) just can’ t think of starting their day without a good cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the word coffee is a word borrowed from the Arabic word “qahwah” which means “power” . Power as energy for coffee drinkers and power as ability for smallholder coffee producers of developing countries to penetrate the markets for certified sustainable products, markets that open up opportunities to produce sustainably, cost-effectively and sell the crop at remunerative prices.
But how can smallholder coffee producers make the most out of their crop if they don’t have a sense of the complexity of these markets?
Too often their hard work does not translate into decent incomes and the reason is very simple; their coffee beans do not meet the standards required by the market therefore they are sold for few pennies or even worst they remain unsold!!
Coffee consumers are not all the same! They have different tastes, they love different blends and they are very demanding!. That’s why, for coffee buyers the big challenge is to find different and special green beans for their coffee blends and for producers is to cultivate the right coffee beans. But what is the relationship between coffee producers and buyers? In most cases none!
Producers don’t know what happens to their harvest once it leaves their countries, buyers don’t know how producers grow and process their coffee beans and they never have the chance to talk to each other.
But this is not what is happening to smallholder coffee producers of developing countries who are participating in an innovative programme funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) known as SAMCERT, Strengthening Smallholders’ Access to Markets for Certified Sustainable Products .
Building bridges along the coffee value chain of IFAD-funded projects: a capacity building initiative.
• Take a close look at Italian roasting companies and coffee retailers
• Experience the magic of the roasting
• Enjoy the true flavour of roasted coffee beans
• Refine their sense of smell to ascertain the properties of the green beans !
• Appreciate the different qualities of the green beans
• Capture the key phases of the roasting process
• Learn how roasting is done
• And actually ……….do it!
• Understand the role that technology plays in the production process
• Exchange coffee beans from IFAD-funded projects with Italian roasters
• Be briefed at ICEA HQ on SAMCERT objectives and the key pillars of the certification process
• Participate in a coffee cupping exercise at IFAD and have their coffee samples assessed by Italian coffee experts from Café Latino!
To my surprise and I guess to the ones of the IFAD project representatives, the coffee beans have a sort of “ DNA“ which unveils , though a number of tests , how the beans are grown and processed so no secrets for the coffee tasting experts! The best beans were the beans from Nicaragua but also the ones from the other countries had lot of strengths. In terms of weaknesses, all of them had a few and the Italian coffee experts offered technical solutions and advice to overcome them .
As Alessio Baschieri ( Associazione Caffè Latino)” said, “there is no such thing as good coffee. There are coffees that consumers choose. The challenge consist in assessing the qualities of our coffee beans and build linkages with the markets that appreciate them. ”
Thanks to this initiative, which was organized by SAMCERT and supported by “Caffe’Terzi” , “ L’albero del caffe’, Caffe’Corsini, Comitato Italiano Caffe’ , “Cooperazione Italiana” , the Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare (IAO) and " Associazione Caffè Latino", IFAD project representatives went back to their countries with a clearer understanding of the Italian market requirements, the standards they have to meet in order to penetrate in the market of certified coffee. In few hours some of them will be in Nurnberg to participate in Biofach 2014 and they will get an opportunity to present their beans to coffee buyers from all over the world and as a result truly put their business flair into practice. I wish them the best of success and I’ll be lucky enough to see them in action. So watch this space to find out how well they are doing! To know more follow # BioFachVivaness #ifad
Watch the video