Friday 01 December 2023

World Coffee Conference highlights the evolution of coffee processing methods  and agricultural practices

The day started with the inauguration of the Growers Conclave, a critical component of the four-day event by Mr. Amardeep Singh Bhatia, Additional Secretary, Dept of Commerce, Govt of India in the presence of Dr. K.G. Jagadeesha, IAS, CEO and Secretary, Coffee Board of India and a host of esteemed dignitaries, government officials, national & international delegates and most importantly Coffee Growers

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BENGALURU, India – The 5th World Coffee Conference (WCC) 2023, organized by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in collaboration with the Coffee Board of India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India; Government of Karnataka, and the Coffee Industry, concluded yesterday (September 28, 2023) at Bangalore Palace in Bengaluru on a high note.

The conference included 45 knowledge sessions, with 127 speakers, of which 80 were international experts and 47 were Indian. The 5th World Coffee Conference and Expo came to an end with a participation from 80 countries, including 2609 delegates, 323 International delegates, 253 exhibitors, 13,947 business visitors and 347 B2B meetings.

The day started with the inauguration of the Growers Conclave, a critical component of the four-day event by Mr. Amardeep Singh Bhatia, Additional Secretary, Dept of Commerce, Govt of India in the presence of Dr. K.G. Jagadeesha, IAS, CEO and Secretary, Coffee Board of India and a host of esteemed dignitaries, government officials, national & international delegates and most importantly Coffee Growers.

“It’s been an honour for India to host WCC 2023 in the city of Bengaluru over the last few days and the team has done a wonderful job. The demand for coffee has grown over the past decade. I read that we consume close to 3 billion cups of coffee worldwide which is expected to double in the next 25 years.

The demand for coffee is being led by coffee producing countries who are rising to the demands despite the challenges of climate change and other factors. Adoption of sustainable practices which is the theme of this conference is apt and the discussions have resulted in enlightening insights.

Coffee Growers are at the heart of this conference and therefore the conference addresses challenges and solutions aimed at this community, many of whom are fourth and fifth generation growers”, said Mr. Bhatia at the inaugural ceremony.

Circular economy, placing livelihood of farmers at the core of the business model, breeding climate resilient variants of coffee beans, scientific collaborations between countries – all this and more was deliberated upon during the immensely successful World Coffee Conference (WCC) 2023.

At the session- Exploring Coffee Origins: An Insider’s Perspective of coffee production and agricultural practices at the Grower’s Conference, Dr. Manuel Diaz (add designation) offered valuable insights into the journey of coffee from farm to market, focusing on the challenges faced by farmers and the strategies they employ to ensure high-quality coffee production.

“The backbone of the coffee value system is the flavor of the coffee. We are still in the evolution phase of coffee processing. Fermentation, metabolic action, and heat pressure play an active role, as do methods of growing coffee in various regions. Hence, farmers need to focus on producing ‘flavours’ and not ‘beans’” explained Dr. Diaz.

Advancement in technology and innovation are the two primary factors which not only mitigate the negative impacts of climate change but also help to ramp up coffee production, said experts at the session on ‘Correlation of Quality with Advances in Machine Technology, Mechanization and Processing of Coffee’. Coffee has been an integral part of human culture for centuries, but the way we produce and enjoy it has evolved significantly, thanks to the relentless progress of technology.

“Technology can not only increase efficiency, but also offer better quality control and improve blends leading to more profits and happier clients”, said Carlos Brando, a coffee expert with over 20 years of experience in the coffee industry.

The WCC 2023 also hosted a Start-up Conclave where founders of innovative start-ups talked their coffee entrepreneurship journey.

Bharat Sethi, CEO and Founder of Rage Coffee, spoke about how he worked to create one of the more popular coffee brands in the country. “Within the current coffee market, we observed that packaged coffee is a great opportunity. The age group above 35 considered tea as their choice of beverage however, the coffee consumption is driven by Gen Z of the millennials. Hence the brand’s key aim is to cater to the youth.

IB Bopanna, Founder Director, CHOMBUKA Coorg Coffee (OPC) agreed and reinforced that Coffee farming in India is well positioned for change due to the growing demand for an affordable luxury beverage. He urged entrepreneurs to tap into opportunities for value addition at the farmer’s level. Several other founders from India and abroad spoke of their experiences at the Start-up Conclave.

The global conference hosted a large number of skill – building workshops which offered coffee professionals and enthusiasts the opportunity build skill sets that are crucial to the coffee industry. From baristas to coffee tasters and expert blenders to tech innovators, experts from across countries came together to offer industry – specific knowledge and insights into building the requisite skill sets required to thrive in the coffee industry.

Addressing the media on the final day, Dr. K.G. Jagadeesha, IAS, CEO and Secretary, Coffee Board of India, said, “India’s growing reputation in the coffee industry, known for its sustainable and high-quality production, is gaining global recognition.

The World Coffee Conference has played a vital role in highlighting India’s commitment to quality and sustainability. This is opening up business opportunities and fostering innovations in the coffee industry.

The conference attracted interest from industrialists, tech enthusiasts, and innovators, driving the growth of India’s coffee culture, especially in cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Kolkata. The Coffee shops have also transformed into creative hubs, and we offer support to aspiring entrepreneurs despite the challenges they may encounter. We promote sound agricultural practices and raise global awareness to improve coffee production.”

WCC 2023 hosted competitions and championships during the 4-day event the most coveted of which is the National Barista Championship. The prestigious competition is designed to recognize the most technically proficient and talented baristas in the field. It is dedicated to promoting excellence throughout the entire coffee value chain, fostering skill development, and cultivating a thriving café culture in India.

The winner will represent India in The World Barista Championship to be held in South Korea, and a cash prize was also awarded. Mr. Hrishikesh Mohite from Café’ De Meet won the National Barista Championship 2024 at the WCC 2023.

At the Women’s Star Brewer Skills Championship, female barista and home brewers were offered a platform to proudly display their coffee brewing prowess, demonstrating their skills. Participants were allowed to craft a ‘Signature Beverage’ utilizing home brewing equipment. The Women’s Star Brewer Skills Championship is awarded to Priti Pradhan.

The National Latte Art Championship made its debut in India, bringing an exciting blend of artistic expression and barista skill to the forefront. This unique competition challenges baristas with on-the-spot performances that showcase their creativity and precision. From over 150 contestants, Mr. Mohammad Afsar was awarded as the champion who will now participate in the International Latte Art Championship in Taiwan.

The Great Indian Filter Coffee Championship is a celebration of traditional Indian coffee craftsmanship, designed to promote and nurture the art of brewing the quintessential Filter Coffee. From 27 participants went head-to-head from which Vani shree N from Brown Bean Artistry is declared the winner.

1758 contestants participated in the ‘Flavour of India – The Fine Cup Award Cupping Competition’ which was on a mission to award the production of high-quality coffees in India. The winner of Best Washed Arabica is awarded to Mrs. Killo Aswini, Best Arabica Naturals is awarded to M/s. Kruthi Coffee, Kindriguda Tribal Farmers Group, Best Washed Robusta is awarded to Mr. Jacob Mammen, M/s Badra Estate Balehonnur Estate; Best Robusta Naturals is awarded to Mr. Jacob Mammen M/s. Badra Balehonnur Estate.

The 4-day international event featured Conferences, Skill Building Workshops, a Growers Conclave, CEOs & Global Leaders Forums, Startup Conclave, Competitions & Awards, and an Exhibition showcasing cutting-edge coffee products and services.

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