The Rise Of Fine Robusta

Now is an exciting time for coffee processing as innovations and education are improving rapidly. There are emerging origins like China, Myanmar, and Thailand taking impressive strides in improving their coffee quality based on trainings from the Coffee Quality Institute and other interested parties. There has also been a recent boom in coffee genetics that aim to tackle climate change and breed varietals that enhance flavors. CQI has recently started Q Processing to create a network of trusted processing professionals around the world. One particularly interesting emerging trend is the rise of fine Robusta.

Robusta is often overlooked because of its traditionally unfavorable cupping quality which traces directly to the way it is processed. Oftentimes Robusta beans are traded with hundreds of defects and their cupping quality has not been a priority. But what if it is processed properly? The impact could be huge on not only the farmers producing it, but every party in the supply chain. Obusta currently accounts for 40% of global coffee production.

The Robusta paradigm is being shifted from a functional focus with emphasis on dry-mill sorting to eliminate defects, to now focusing more on differentiating flavors and emphasizing processing prior to hulling to prevent defects. In 2008 to 2012 CQI has been working to develop clear international standards jointly with the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and an international team to create the Fine Robusta Standard which improves the practices and increases market demands for future Robusta coffees. This information can be found at website. The newest version of these standards will be available to by the end of April 2018 and CQI will let everyone know!

With climate change as an ongoing concern for coffee growers, getting familiar with Robusta standards will help Robusta producers survive, since Robusta survives in lower elevations. It could potentially have a larger output than arabica in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about Robusta coffees, you can join one of CQI’s Pre-Q Robusta courses or if you’re ready to take your expertise to the next level, you can join a Q Robusta Course and, upon successful completion, obtain a Q Grader Robusta Certification. We will be adding more classes this year so keep your eyes on our upcoming courses. Our next Pre-Q Robusta Course will be held in Colombia at Catación Publica in Bogota. The Pre-Q Robusta Course is an introduction to cupping and is the first of its kind to ever to be taught in Colombia. For more information on this course or to sign up click here.

There are currently over 5,554 Q Arabica Graders around the world and only 223 Q Robusta Graders. CQI looks forward to building a network of professionals in Robusta coffee to further our mission of improving coffee quality and the lives of the people who produce it.

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