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BEVERAGE

Bayar’s Coffee to conduct Q grade certification in Arabica and Robusta
Friday, 09 February, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Bayar’s Coffee, which launched the Red Sirocco variant, will conduct Q grade Arabica training and certification between February 26 and March 3, 2018 and Q Grade Robusta training and certification between March 5 and 10, 2018. Both the training and certification programmes will take place at the Indian Institute of Plantation Management in Bengaluru.

Q grade certification is the premium certification programme given by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), which is based in the United States. The training programme, which took place in Europe and some Asian countries earlier, will take place in India for the first time. Srikanth Rao, certified Q grader, Bayar’s Coffee, said, “Earlier India has just five Q graders.”

“But over the last two years, the number of Q graders has gone up to 25. This year, 10 Q graders will be trained. That will take the number of Q graders in the country to 35,” he added. R Nagaraja Rao, executive director, Bayar’s Coffee, said, “The awareness and passion for coffee is limited. Therefore, the interest for the beverage needs to slowly percolate to the masses.”

“We are seeing cafes mushrooming. These are not chains, but standalone outlets started by people who are convinced about the growing appeal for coffee among youngsters and are thus educating consumers. This increase in interest will create a demand for speciality coffee where one needs to appreciate the flavour,” he added.

“The need for training is also driven by the fact that there is an acute shortage of quality manpower which is impacting the sector. The paucity of trained personnel, especially that of the men behind the machines (or the barista) is palpable. Therefore, there is a need for skill development programmes for the coffee industry or dedicated schools offering the same in the country,” he added.

“Our next step is to train baristas, which becomes a different business for us. This is because baristas don’t just need to operate the machine, but also to communicate with the consumers. This ensures that they appreciate and understand everything about the coffee which is served. A trained barista is not just a person with a skill set but also one who needs to articulate about the coffee, which cannot be automated because coffee-making is an art,” said Srikanth.

“On the plantation front, the scenario is far better, because the youngsters have taken over from the older generation. Bayar’s Coffee too works with farmers and plantation owners who are keen to experiment and come out with new preparation methods to arrive at special flavours. A lot of training is needed in terms of processing too. Good coffee can be spoilt by incorrect processing,” said Srikanth.

“Further, access to right roasters AND work with the growers to experiment on the consistent quality coffee profile are also challenges. However, the situation is improving as people are willing to experiment and give us a good variety. We work with experts from the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru, and get continuous inputs from them,” he added.

“The success of the sector can also measured from the venture capitalist (VC) and private equity (PE) angle who view this as a growth platform. Considerable investments have been made in cafe start-ups. VCs and PEs are definitely looking at this sector in a positive manner,” stated Srikanth.
 
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