Distance, location and language have long been barriers for communication between farmers and roasters. Despite the advances of technology, Cropster CEO Norbert Niederhauser says no one in the coffee industry had discovered a computer software program to exchange essential processing and production data from origin to cup – until now.  “To be sustainable, [farmers] need to understand ecological management such as how to pick ripe cherries, they need specific training about harvesting and crop production, fermentation and transportation,” says Niederhauser. “But farmers also need to be sustainable in the way they communicate and share data information and methods with the people who roast their coffee.” To achieve this, Niederhauser and his two business partners designed a professional software program for small and medium-sized coffee and cocoa businesses in 2008. Niederhauser says the mechanics of the programs are “simple and reliable”. All that’s needed is a computer device or tablet system to access the online software.
Each user has their own account, which they can use to exchange samples of information that contribute to a company’s quality management. The program generates a history of data that can be collated and shared with existing clients or at the start of a new partnership. Niederhauser says the program aims to maximise coffee consistency, improve quality and help farmers stay on top of production. More than 40 different modules are available for users, including Cropster Origin. This software enables farmers to structure and present their production data professionally to improve production, processes and quality control. It’s a way for farmers to log their production quantities, record bean size, defects, flavours, even farm location, size, soil type and processing methods. This information, presented in a PDF or report format, can then be shared at the click of a button with potential buyers or roasting partners. From ground level to the roasting stage of the supply chain, Cropster Roast is another module for roasting professionals to record their roast profiling and blending information for further analysis with producers. This software acts as a digital assistant to auto-check roasts against predefined parametres such as temperature or duration. Cropster’s Roasting Intelligence 2 (RI2) system can also read the bean temperature of up to four sample roaster barrels at the same time. Cropster has also established a web-based solution to support coffee labs and coffee shops in the assessment and analysing of quality data. Cropster’s Coffee Lab program traces coffee samples or lots back to their origin and provides information on the processes and internal operations used. Niederhauser says communication and operation performance from both sides of the supply chain are necessary for a quality end product, and this has been achieved through Cropster’s range of software modules. “[Cropster] creates a common learning experience. It educates farmers about how their coffee is roasted and it gives them the tools for better decision-making. And roasters can learn more about how coffee is cared for at ground level,” Niederhauser says. At the time of print, several hundred farmers in more than 35 countries had already joined the Cropster integrated data management system. Niederhauser says the high percentage of users from origin is a breakthrough considering that many origin countries lack the infrastructure to facilitate good communication with buyers.
“We want to empower farmers and provide the opportunity for them to earn a sustainable income for their product,” Niederhauser says

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend