Coffee Quality Institute supports producers by providing education that gives them options to improve the quality of their coffee and by identifying and differentiating high-quality coffee so it can be rewarded. CQI instructors are valued partners in coffee quality education, and the certifications students earn in their courses support that work. Each instructor brings their own special style as well as their own background in coffee.
Sylvia Gutierrez has been in the coffee industry for 18 years and is currently based in Mexico City where she works as a director at the Asociacion Mexicana de Cafes y Cafeterias de Especialidad, A.C. She speaks Spanish and English and has mainly taught in her favorite coffee origin, Mexico.
When did you decide to start teaching and what made you realize you wanted to teach about coffee?
It wasn't part of my plans. In Mexico, we have three of the best CQI instructors but they are not always available to provide courses here, and as a producing country that is growing its coffee consumption too, the demand for serious training is increasing. Many companies are requiring that their employees have a certificate of their skills. I wanted to join the group of trainers in Mexico, but I wanted to be supported by a serious and international institution that provides reliable sets of training, and that is why I trusted CQI and joined the instructors' team. I used to assist many CQI's certification courses but it took some courage to switch to facing students of all levels while instructing Q courses. It has been an extraordinary journey.
What are some of your future goals for teaching about coffee?
I want to improve my coffee knowledge with a scientific background and invest more time in the producing and processing part of the coffee chain.
What is the biggest challenge of teaching about coffee?
We are teaching adults with different coffee knowledge, but not always accurate or equal and, in some courses, you struggle to find the right level for everyone. I don't like when I have to fail some student, this is a sad part of being an instructor. But the Q system is reliable thanks to its strict standards. Another challenge is that our brains are changing, we need to adapt to the changes in attention levels. Social media and technology are pushing us to change our teaching styles, acquiring new tools, and modifying the traditional teacher-student relation where the teacher is the only one that talks, to other practices where you can have the student's attention really focused on all the content we need to provide.