Adding to her significant experience and qualifications, CQI Quality Evaluation Specialist and Q Arabica Instructor Trish Rothgeb recently earned her Q Robusta Grader certificate at SOCOF Lab in Bangkok with Q Robusta Instructor Mbula Musau.
We caught up with Trish after her travels to learn more about her experience and why she thinks it's important for Q Graders to be certified in both Arabica and Robusta.
Trish: My entrance into quality coffee began as so many other in our business - as a barista serving exclusively arabica coffee. Even as CQI developed the Robusta program, I was content to be an observer and not a participant.
In recent years though, I've had the good fortune to cup alongside Q Robusta Graders, and while my curiosity and fondness for Robusta grew, I always felt like I couldn't really contribute to the conversation. I knew there was a big gap in my understanding of quality coffee, partly because I had never gotten my Q Robusta Grader certification. By extension, huge swaths of the coffee industry were lost on me. I just wasn't qualified enough to do what I have always tried to do, which is to help improve coffee in any and all ways I can.
Learning about Robusta for six full days of the course was a pleasure. I learned that I didn't miss tasting Arabica every day. I didn't continually compare Arabica to Robusta. I wasn't made to cup any more "bad" samples than I would have during an Arabica course. I began to understand the parallel universe of Robusta flavors. I am also a coffee roaster/retailer, and I found myself finding places within the market where these coffees could and should fit.
The quest continues because I know that one Robusta course does not make me an expert. I do feel more equipped to taste Robusta. I'm happy to keep my opinions open and constructive as I look forward to tasting and learning more!
To learn more about our Robusta courses, click here.