Live from the annual SCAA Exposition in Portland, I am pleased to announce the introduction of a new series of origin tours for coffee professionals by Italian coffee firm Absis Consulting and endorsed by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters — its first tour to India led by none other than yours truly in December. Our joint statement and additional information is below.

Absis Consulting announces a new series of origin tours for coffee trade professionals, endorsed by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters as part of its educational program. The first tour of the world’s coffee growing regions will begin with a visit to India in December 2012.

In a five-day expedition starting on Sunday, December 9th, the group will travel from Bangalore to explore the key Indian coffee producing region of Chikmagalur, with a visit to the Bababudangiris mountain range, the fabled origin of all coffee in India.

“India is one of the most important producers of coffee and is quite interesting to us, as Indian coffee is widely used in Italian blends; naturally it was selected as our first destination for this new professional tour series,” commented Absis Consulting CEO Carlo Odello.

Experienced coffee origin tour leader and Indian coffee buyer Andrew Hetzel and Italian Tasters’ R&D Manager Manuela Violoni will guide the group through Arabica and Robusta farms, processing facilities and cultural sites, as well as lead daily cuppings of coffees from around the surrounding area.

“The coffees of India are complex, unusual and often misunderstood by western buyers, very much like the place from where they originate,” notes Hetzel. “Visiting a place in person — meeting its people, eating local food and experiencing local customs is the only way that I’ve found to truly appreciate new cultures. This tour will be an ideal way to be introduced to the amazing place that is India and leave with a better understanding and appreciation for its wonderful coffees.”