By Bruce Mullins
The specialty coffee industry’s Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative (GCQRI) has officially been launched, and has begun its historic multi-year journey towards a more complete understanding of the science behind coffee quality and coffee quantity.
The Initiative—developed over the past 18 months by a consortium of leading specialty coffee roasters, thought-leaders and coffee agricultural researchers—officially began its operations in October as the outcome of an industry-led summit meeting convened in College Station, Texas, held under the auspices of Texas A&M University and the world-renowned Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture.
This unprecedented coffee congress attracted approximately 75 of the world’s leading specialty coffee growers, importers, roasters, researchers, and economists, during which participants spent two and a half days talking, listening, sharing, and taking a hard look at emerging problems within the global supply chain of quality coffees.
“There has never before been an attempt to look globally into the primary motivating factors for coffee quality,” says Ric Rhinehart, executive director of the SCAA.
Adds Dr. Tim Schilling, one of the Initiative’s founders, “It is unprecedented that a multi-billion dollar global industry like specialty coffee has no front-end research and development to grow and protect the supply of their raw product. There’s actually been more global research into making better kiwifruit than into making better coffee!”