JIS News

The Coffee Industry Board (CIB) has launched a series of training seminars aimed at helping coffee selectors to better identify quality beans.
The seminar, which is in response to a 20 per cent decline in exportable coffee last year, is aimed at increasing the volume and quality of coffee beans exported.
One such seminar was held on Monday (Feb.11) at the Village Green Restaurant in Morant Bay, St. Thomas, which looked at the economic value of coffee to Jamaica, what is considered good coffee, how to select quality beans and how to select the coffee on delivery.
Quality Control Manager at the CIB, Hervin Willis, told JIS News that the board thought it necessary to conduct the seminars as there were new entrants in the industry and there is a need to improve the quality of the coffee that eventually makes it to the marketplace.
“Our target at this point in time is really from the selector right through to roasters of coffee. In 2006/07, the level of defective beans seen in the coffee was much higher than the year before and we were concerned that coming out of the selection stage of the coffee, not enough attention was being paid to quality, so we deemed it necessary to start it there,” he explained.
He noted that “coffee that has a lot of defects will not make it to the international market and a smaller volume means a smaller earning as the lower grade stuff is sold for a lower price.”
Mr. Willis rejected claims that the CIB had raised the standard for sorting beans for export, which resulted in the massive amounts of beans being rejected at the selection stage. “That is not the case. The standard has been maintained. It’s just a case that enough attention was not being paid to the coffee in terms of what is selected, what is reaped and how they handle the coffee,” he noted.
The training also highlighted techniques used by some farmers, including putting the better berries on top and taking in the batch late in the evening when the selector may not be as alert. “When that happens, the tendency is for the selector to shift focus to try and hurriedly get through the selection process,” he pointed out.
Selectors were also told to advise farmers not to deliver the coffee beans in containers or bags that were used for fertiliser or chemicals, as residues can contaminate the beans, which will be rejected.