IMA Coffee discusses the launch of the Green Coffee Academy

IMA Coffee Green Coffee Academy

IMA Coffee discusses the launch of the Green Coffee Academy, an all-round training course on green coffee specifically targeted at coffee professionals.

An experiential journey that started off in the plantations of Honduras and ended in the research facilities of IMA Coffee Lab, has resulted in a new event concept created by IMA Coffee.

The Green Coffee Academy aims to generate knowledge on green coffee, combining three educational programs to offer coffee professionals an understanding of the green coffee supply chain – from the plantation all the way to cleaning and roasting plants.

“The project stems from the need to investigate the origins of green coffee in order to better understand its botanical species and varieties, harvesting and processing techniques, and clarify which possible green coffee defects are original faults and which are acquired during progress through the supply chain,” says Nicola Panzani, Strategic Director of the IMA Coffee Lab and CEO at IMA Petroncini.

“The goal of this fully immersive initiative will be to improve knowledge of the raw materials and the supply chain in order to identify the virtuous dynamics that help obtain a value-added cup of coffee, also through a more efficient product processing by using low energy impact technologies. In-depth knowledge of the product and of the technologies necessary to correctly process raw materials give supply chain players the right tools to be able to implement corporate social responsibility projects.”

The first event of the Green Coffee Academy was the Coffee Camp in the Finca Rio Colorado plantation in Las Capucas, Honduras. It was transformed into a training campus from 23 February to 6 March for an Aromateller Expert Full Course, an innovative and high-level training course that combined technical and marketing skills. The event, organised and coordinated by training company in conjunction with the Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada (COCAFCAL) and Umami Area Honduras cooperatives, offered the opportunity to get to know the coffee directly in its country of origin.

“Each of the seven participants was able to attend, practise and learn all the stages of quality Arabica coffee production, tutored by a team of experts and authorised Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) trainers,” says Panzani.

The next Campus is expected to take place from 23 November to 4 December 2023.

Following the Coffee Camp, IMA Coffee held a Green Coffee Skills Course on 29 March, attended by 12 coffee professionals from around the globe. The day consisted of qualifying training at the IMA Coffee Lab, located at the IMA Petroncini production site in northern Italy, where it installed a full-functioning green coffee cleaning and processing plant.

“By attending the training day, each participant discovered key aspects of green coffee, including production, processing, classification, shipping, storage, arrival at destination, as well as coffee portfolio management and contracts,” Panzani says.

The final stage of the Green Coffee Academy was the Academy Day, held on 30 March at the IMA Coffee Lab.

“It was a day of sharing and training which included a program jam-packed with papers and workshops on green coffee, with the participation of 50 coffee experts, roasters, and international producers,” says Panzani.

“We discussed the whole supply chain from farm to roaster, including cultivation, harvesting, processing, delivery of the green beans and the quality control along the green coffee supply chain.

“The day was also focused on the important theme of optimising the green coffee reception operations based on cleaning process, and the benefits of the in-house cleaning and sorting technologies for value-added coffee beans to complete the scenario of the green coffee supply chain.”

During the Academy Day, it was possible to see the Coffee Lab’s green coffee processing plant in operation, including cleaning technologies and optical-colour sorting, processing up to two tonnes of Ethiopian Djimma Natural, a dry processed arabica.

“Highly energy-efficient handling and dosing systems, designed to guarantee top hygienic design standards with minimal maintenance requirements, were presented along with plant management and product traceability systems. Cupping sessions and comparative roasting tests were also carried out according to the modular and traditional method,” Panzani says.

According to Panzani, in recent decades, the green coffee market has been experiencing major challenges due to climate change, which has led to the commercialisation of new coffee varieties. This has caused many farmers to abandon their plantations, considered the starting point of a long supply chain. Panzani says the commercialisation of some varieties, however, has also meant an increased risk of product availability for roasters, resulting in inconsistent cup quality.

“That’s why for roasters today, it is important to know the origins of coffee species and varieties to better understand how to maintain the quality in the cup, paying attention at the sustainability of the green coffee ecosystem,” says Panzani.

IMA Coffee hopes that the Green Coffee Academy will create more awareness about the origins of coffee and how to optimise its in-cup quality. Panzani says the demand for sustainable products and processes is increasingly high, from the plantation up to the recycling of packaging material.

“An in-depth knowledge of the product and technologies necessary to clean and sort the coffee directly in the roasting factories could help commercial green coffee to reach the highest quality standards at the right profit for the farmers, providing companies the right tools to implement sustainable practices and social responsibility actions,” he says.

“IMA, as a producer of technologies for coffee processing and packaging, has the duty and honour of being an important player in the supply chain to respond to the green coffee environmental and commercial crisis with educational programs and more energy-efficient technologies that can help obtain a sustainable value-added cup of coffee” Panzani says.

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This article was first published in the July/August 2023 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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