The Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative and Upcoming Congress

After a series of signals, some of which have been ringing in our ears for years–rising differentials, world consumption numbers outpacing production, land and labor pressures, climate change, and even lesser known threats, such as a limited genetic base—the specialty coffee industry is taking action. The long-term supply and availability of high quality, washed Arabica coffee is seriously challenged and there is a paucity of research to identify appropriate and innovative ways of increasing quality and volumes of quality coffee…enter the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative (GCQRI).

At the SCAA Symposium in 2009, after a presentation by Dr. Tim Schilling, a group of industry leaders began discussing the problems of supply and potential solutions. After much dialogue, a proposal was unveiled in 2010 that called for an industry-wide initiative to improve, grow and protect the supply of high quality, washed Arabica coffee. GCQRI is proposed in a way that ensures a representative cross-section of the industry, participative design for funding, and research priorities that are industry-driven. The details of which—around governance and structure, financing, and research priorities—will be discussed and further developed at a Congress held this week at Texas A&M, hosted by the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture (the research partner for this endeavor).

Along with a number of specialty coffee roasters and the Borlaug Institute, the SCAA is among the steering group committed to bringing GCQRI to full fruition. As such, we’ll keep you posted on outcomes here as well as provide direction to additional information available throughout the Congress. Stay tuned…