CQI's mission is to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of people who produce it. We do this with certain fundamental assumptions - the cornerstone of which is that if growers produce higher quality and the market then distinguishes that quality, the entire value supply chain and especially the producer will benefit. Working with both Arabica and Robusta producers, CQI employs an adaptable education framework to enable and empower coffee growers and others to produce quality coffee and support self-sustaining, thriving communities. Historically most attention has been on Arabica, however Robusta coffee accounts for close to 40% of coffee exports around the world, and therefore CQI has education and support opportunities for those growers as well.
Robusta, like any agricultural product, produces a range of quality options. When choice of genetic material and appropriate post-harvest processing is considered, high quality Fine Robusta may present clean and complex flavors and play a vital role in sustaining the coffee industry. Recognition of this quality is a key step in improving coffee worldwide - and in bringing better livelihoods to those supplying it.
CQI believes that all coffee producers should have access to the tools and information they need to thrive and sustain their families and communities, therefore offer options for both Arabica and Robusta. Between 2008 and 2012, CQI worked in partnership with the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and a global team to develop international standards for Fine Robusta Standard. We launched the Q Robusta Grader Course in 2010 to create a common language of quality for Fine Robusta. Since that time, 283 Q grader professionals have been certified in Robusta standards. The standard and training result in grading of Robusta as Good, Very Good, Fine, or Outstanding quality.
How will CQI continue to innovate to support the production of Fine Robusta?
Our work to improve Robusta quality is ongoing. After establishing the Fine Robusta standard and a work force of Q Robusta graders, we are now focusing on post-harvest processing of Robusta. We are currently creating a new Q Processing course on Robusta to support producers, which will be released early in 2021, with the generous support of Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) and Nespresso.
Why does Robusta need its own course?
Robusta fruit is physically and chemically distinct from Arabica. The thickness of the fruit skin, the amount and sugar content of mucilage, bean shape, size, waste water generated, and total weight of cherry required to produce 1 kilogram of the green bean, are different than Arabica and must be treated differently in the field and throughout the post-harvest processing.