Working with the coffee community, the nonprofit ACDI/VOCA, and funded through by the United States Department of Agriculture, CQI has been working in the Philippines to improve quality through education, and to improve market access through buyers tours, global events and green coffee competitions.
Beginning with an assessment, then developing a standard practice guide and evaluating coffee labs, coffee professionals in the Philippines have taken their training and run with it, generating both arabica and Robusta Q Graders. Post-harvest Processing training was also offered, and 2017 saw the first cupping competition. Fast forward to 2022, when the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition Auction set new records. The average price per kg in 2022 increased by 46% over the previous year and the total revenue went up by 28%. 2022 also saw the highest bid prices ever for Philippine specialty arabica and fine Robusta. Working together with local authorities like the Philippines Coffee Board and with our international partners has achieved goals such as improved prices and improved quality for Filipino coffee.
CQI works in partnership with the nonprofit TechnoServe on the USAID/DRC Strengthening the Coffee Value Chain (SVC) project. The coffee component focuses on the development of the high-altitude heirloom Arabica specialty coffee sector in the Kabare, Kalehe and Idjwi territories, with special emphasis on improving specialty coffee production and productivity. By increasing coffee income for small households, SVC seeks to provide a long-term economic incentive for community peacebuilding efforts.. In 2021TechnoServe added new partners and over twenty washing stations to their program and offered the Q Processing Level 2 course so that the washing stations joining the project were exposed to quality standards at the onset of the season, along with correct use of technologies and equipment that help refine the art of processing.
Working with Winrock International and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, our project, Creating Linkages for Expanding Agricultural Networks (CLEAN) After initial assessments, CQI hosted a hosted a live ‘virtual tasting’ of Lao coffees distributed to coffee professionals. The purpose of this activity was to introduce key US-based private sector actors to Lao specialty coffee. this virtual tasting event achieved the same purpose of introducing green buyers and key influencers to this “new origin.”
CQI then worked with the same partners to organize the first ever green coffee quality competition in Laos. Coffee Quality Institute organizes competitions to create excitement about emerging markets. Laos has also been featured at international coffee shows and has even had a tasting in Washington D.C.
Based on the success of the first Lao Green Coffee Competition and interest generated by the producers, CQI organized a second green coffee competition. Both competitions consisted of a panel of certified Q Graders. A multilateral partnership between the CLEAN project, CQI and the International Trade Center’s ARISE program resulted in an online auction.
In cooperation with Laos Coffee Association, CQI delivered a variety of coffee sensory evaluation classes and courses. More than simply the knowledge of evaluating coffee, this training is inspiring the rapid growth of Laos’ specialty coffee community to host local events that encourage specialty sector growth.
Further building sensory evaluation knowledge and capacity, CQI worked with LCA to build out the first Certified Q Venue in Laos. The Q Venue credential for LCA will allow them to host future CQI sensory training and gives them access to global resources and a network of professional cupper and coffee taster educators. It will also be the future epicenter for regional and national coffee competitions.
The next step is to work directly with Lao coffee producers and processors to understand and implement good processing practices, and to impact the quality of next year’s harvest.