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In June 2018, CQI staff headed to Amsterdam for World of Coffee, Europe’s largest annual gathering of specialty coffee professionals.
Our main event at World of Coffee was hosting a reception for our Q Program partners, which was attended by representatives of European coffee labs, Q Instructors, trustees, and development partners. CQI considers one of its greatest strengths to be its global network of experts. Through the Q Program, CQI has built innumerable relationships with green buyers, roasters, importers and exporters and educators who help build important market connections and enable producers to reach specialty markets.
Gathering together with many of these people in Amsterdam was a special occurrence. At the event, Roukiat Delrue, Q Program Director, discussed Europe’s importance as a component of CQI’s work, with both the Q Arabica and Q Robusta programs thriving all over Europe. She also described how Q Grader education provides stakeholders throughout the value chain with tools to increase competitiveness, as well as gives buyers and sellers a common understanding of product value.
Emilio Lopez, a Q Processing Instructor and current chair of the Coffee Roasters Guild, explained CQI’s new Q Processing program. A sixth-generation coffee producer from El Salvador, Emilio has collaborated with CQI on the development of the new curriculum, which aims to enhance the capacity and value proposition around coffee processing. Emilio discussed how this scientific and technical approach to processing coffees will not only provide processors with knowledge of how to improve quality, standardize procedures, increase competitiveness, and reduce risk, but also create a system that can be trusted throughout the supply chain.
In addition to hosting the reception, the CQI team was busy during World of Coffee Amsterdam. Q Program Director Roukiat Delrue served as the head judge for the finals of the 2018 World Barista Championship, which took place during the show. WBC judges are highly skilled coffee professionals who volunteer their time. Out of 80 judges from all over the world, Roukiat was selected to lead the final panel of judges to evaluate the performance of the world’s top-six baristas, from a total of 57 competitors. Every competition is historic given the huge amount of skill, work, and preparation that goes into them; however, this one was particularly remarkable because it was the first time a woman (Agnieszka Rojewska from Poland) won the World Barista Championship in the competition’s 19-year history.
CQI also shared booth space with InterAmerican Coffee on the Saturday afternoon of the show—many thanks to InterAmerican’s Gloria Pedroza (Q Arabica and Q Robusta Instructor) and Alexander Pfuhl (quality control) for inviting us to share your space. While at the booth, CQI staff met with many European-based Q Graders and presented them with the amazingly popular Q Grader Pins. These lapel pins represent a global recognition of quality coffee, and our pin exchange is proving to be an excellent time to connect with Q Graders to hear about their role in coffee and establish future opportunities to work with CQI on origin projects.
During World of Coffee, we also spent time with CQI Trustee Bridget Carrington, who summed up the event well: “World of Coffee, this year held in Amsterdam and next year in Berlin, is expanding fast and becoming a ‘must attend’ event for any coffee professional, whether European based or not. Whilst it might not be as big an event as SCA in USA, it is a serious opportunity to connect with European traders and roasters in a slightly less frenetic and more relaxed atmosphere, although you would never have thought that if you tried to navigate the hugely popular Roaster Village during the show. CQI definitely has a great role to play in the development of specialty coffee in Europe; it was great to see a good presence this year, and we look forward to even bigger things in Berlin.”
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