• QA 158
    Where to find training courses aimed at green coffee procurement staff?
    I work with one of the most important Ground and Instant Coffee manufacturers based in Mexico. We are looking for training courses for staff to be placed in our green coffee procurement department. Can you recommend any institutions or organizations that provide such courses?
    Asked by:
    Roaster and Instant Manufacturer - Mexico

    Usually, green coffee buying expertise is acquired through 'on the job' training. Formal courses that are offered on a regular basis are rare.

    The main reason is that major coffee trade houses and roasters have always had substantial (and confidential) 'in-house' training programs for coffee quality and trading specialists as part of their staffing and business plans. Regrettably, such programs have not always been available on the production side and it can be argued that a number of producing countries are lagging behind in this respect.

    Knowledge transfer often takes place through ad hoc events such as assistance projects that provide training seminars and that help place trainees with leading coffee companies in consuming countries. However, currently we are not aware of any such projects. Certain Coffee Associations such as the Specialty Coffee Association of America (www.scaa.org) offer both training materials and actual assistance. However, mostly aimed at people wishing to become proficient in the specialty coffee trade. The Coffee Quality Institute (www.coffeeinstitute.org), also in the US, is another potential source, also through its Coffee Corps that sends specialists to producing countries to assist with training. There are universities in the US, New York University for example, that offer programs on Commodity Trading and understanding the mechanics of futures markets but, such programs are generalised and not coffee-specific.

    The International Coffee Organization (www.ico.org) has organised training events in the past but as yet a formal training environment that is both efficient and neutral does not exist. However, there have been major advances in some producing countries, particularly in Colombia and Brazil. It is not at all unusual in today's coffee world to see not only South-South knowledge transfer, but also South-North transfer…

    In Colombia the National Coffee Federation of Colombia (www.juanvaldez.com) offers training courses that may well suit your requirements - go to http://www.coffeetraining.org/ for more on this. However, they do require a minimum number of participants for each event. Alternatively, contact Mr Luis Samper on LuisFernando.Samper@cafedecolombia.com for more information.

    Brazil of course has both a huge domestic R&G industry and a large soluble manufacturing industry. We would suggest therefore to contact the Association of Brazilian Roasters - ABIC at www.abic.com.br  regarding their offerings of Cursos e Treinamentos.  Contact also the Association of Brazilian Soluble Manufacturers - ABICS at www.abics.com.br. Individual companies may perhaps be willing to accept individual trainees for certain stages.

    On the job training opportunities in the US and/or Europe would in our view only be available with trade houses and/or roasters. If you lack direct contacts in this regard then we suggest you contact the National Coffee Association of the US at www.ncausa.org with the request to circulate your interest to their membership. For Europe go to www.ecf-coffee.org, the website of the European Coffee Federation. Click on 'members' and you will find the contact details for all its individual country associations and a number of direct company members.

    Posted 05 July 2007

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