Did you ever have the feeling that you’ve reached a professional turning point or game changing moment for the better that suddenly makes the road ahead look much clearer than before? The sort of thing where the little hairs stand up on the back of your neck?
I got that eerily exhilarating sensation of excitement this morning when the Coffee Quality Institute, creators of the Q Coffee System for Arabica coffees announced that the Robusta Kaapi Royale coffee produced by Sethuraman Estate in India had been certified as the very first Fine Robusta coffee in their new R Coffee program. This news is bigger than any simple certificate won by colleague and friend; no, this is the new beginning of a movement.
Ted Lingle is quoted as saying in the press statement, “low (or no) standards for Robusta coffees have rendered them an inferior substitute for their Arabica cousins.” I feel that this one sentence drives home a point that I have witnessed in person: Robusta has been largely ignored for its potential, so very few put forth effort into making it better.
Now accounting for upwards of 40% of global production, quality standards are long overdue in order for the Robusta market to mature. I applaud the move by CQI to create a global standard and market system to identify good quality Robustas and see this as the first step into a new frontier for specialty coffee.