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The other week I had the chance to be assisting during a Q Graders course, not for Arabica, but for Robusta coffee. The Q coffee system measures and standardises quality for Specialty grade Arabica and for Fine Robusta coffees.  The Robusta programme designed from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) exists from 2010 and by far there are around 185 Robusta graders around the world. The course was held at Bernhard Rothfos Intercafé in Zug Switzerland with instructor Clare Rwakatogoro. It was the first Q Robusta course held in Europe, needless to say – extremely interesting. Read More

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In July I posted something about Coffee Expectations and introducing specialty coffee to the average coffee drinker. Back then I already mentioned Tracy Ging, since she presents results of series of studies regarding coffee drinkers. Now I’m going to mention her again, because I have a few thoughts on the video above, which is from this year’s  Symposium of the SCAA. Ms Ging continues to dig deep into customers’ behavior and purchasing motivators. In this video she continues talking about the same study and about the next phase that they are in at the moment. I am going to summarize some of the study’s findings and add some comments.

Maybe nobody will be surprised when I say that very little people know what specialty coffee is. But we knew this already…what we didn’t know (or at least wasn’t academically proven by now) is that younger people are the ones who are shaping the coffee industry. Drinkers below 35 are more likely to drink coffee away from home, they are having higher quality expectations and are gaining far more exposure compared to the older segment of drinkers. Exposure. The younger ones are going out more frequently, try different brands, different cafés, different coffee beverages. And for them the definition of coffee is not just brewed coffee but it is also the espresso based beverages – hot, iced, frozen and so on. Coffee is being treated as a cocktail. Technically speaking it is incorrect to consider espresso based beverages as coffee, but adding ingredients to the brew such as milk, sugar or even water has been a regular practice since ages so it is a bit pointless to change history.  Another shocking discovery would be that

coffee quality overall seems less and less defined by the coffee quality itself

Yes. It’s more about what goes in the beverage, “the build” not “the bean”.  Price doesn’t matter so much but the bean type or its origin are not of that importance also. I don’t want to agree here, but who am I to talk when I’m not in neither one of the two categories, nor I am in the US where the study has been conducted.

I’m getting tired…the whole topic of specialty coffee is such a game of words. Watch the video and tell me what you thing about it…