The Coffee Quality Institute is a key implementing partner with Winrock International on the USAID VC-RD project in Myanmar. CQI’s contributions include technical support to improve coffee production and processing, cupper training, association and organizational development and market linkages. This includes a focus on enabling smallholder communities to pick, sort, and process coffees to ensure quality and specialty coffee standards, tracking systems, financial literacy, and other key capacity building considerations.
During this program, Myanmar has made impressive strides to shift from a producer of low grade commodity coffee to high value specialty coffees sold in the global marketplace. Shan smallholder communities and the Mandalay Coffee Growers (MCG) are quickly becoming well known for their natural processed and washed coffees. The Myanmar Coffee Association is a key player supporting international marketing efforts and increasing domestic consumption; MCG is a lead processor and exporter for the country. The local roasting business community is also getting involved.
As of 2016, Myanmar has five Licensed Q Graders. The practice of cupping coffee and a common language of quality (the Q) is now integrated throughout the value chain. Interest from green buyers in this origin is substantial, and buyers can now find trained cuppers to work with.
CQI is pleased to have private partners, most notably Atlas Coffee Importers, import the first containers of specialty coffee to the U.S.. The export of specialty grade coffees is expected to increase annually beyond the life of this project, with Myanmar’s specialty coffee reputation already well established.