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Community Chat: Dr Mandappa IM

September 14, 2023
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The CQI community is a vast, diverse, and impactful group of individuals – all with a similar goal or interest of improving and identifying coffee quality to the benefit of the livelihood of those directly involved.

 In this community chat we had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Iychettira Machaiah Mandappa, also known as Dr. Mandappa IM - Q Arabica Grader, and Divisional Head of Coffee Quality at the Coffee Board of India.

 Mandappa has a PhD in biotechnology from the University of Mysore and conducted research for his PhD at India’s premier food research institute, Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI).

After achieving this milestone, Mandappa came across an advertisement in a local newspaper for a vacancy in the coffee quality division at the Coffee Board of India. This ad piqued his interest because his family comes from a small coffee growing region called Coorg, in the biodiverse Western Ghats of South India. Mandappa applied immediately and a year later, he settled into his new role.

 Mandappa truly enjoys what he does, because of his passion for coffee, the people involved, and the culture. His role allows him to mix interests – such as cupping coffee and coffee quality research opportunities. When it comes to coffee, he enjoys the fragrance/aroma but what fascinates him the most is the fine nuances within every cup.

 As he evolved in his career, Mandappa decided to search for more information about the Q Grader certification, mostly interested in what it was all about, and eager to learn more about the institute offering this certification. Mandappa decided to pursue this certification for two reasons:

 1.       His profession involves cupping.

2.      The specialty coffee wave was gaining momentum in India, and he admits that producers were not very adept at cupping their own coffees.


“I thought it best that we from the Coffee Board who act as a facilitator and philosopher for the entire coffee value chain, in addition to what we already do for coffees of India adapt to the globally understood language of Q.”


Mandappa noted that his Q Grader certification has helped him become a bit more confident in his current role as Divisional Head of Coffee Quality. He has a better understanding of the global language of coffee and being a Q Grader has helped him bridge the gap between producer and consumer. He reflected on his course, and he feels that the knowledge and skills gained in the cupping exams has helped him the most in his daily quality control tasks.

The most important tip I would like to share with anyone preparing for Q is go with an open mind and be willing to unlearn and relearn. Most importantly enjoy the Q like your love for coffees.”

 Mandappa, the Coffee Board of India and the ICO, invite interested coffee folks to attend the 5th World Coffee Conference in Bengaluru, India – from September 25 – 29. Click here for more information.