This January: Q Processing Course at the Lab

Processing Comparison Las Lajas, Costa Rica

We are excited to announce that The Lab by Royal NY has added another CQI course to the calendar. This January we will be hosting the Generalist Level of the Q Processing Course. CQI’s goal in this program is to “provide a highly scientific and technical approach to processing coffee that improves quality, standardizes procedures, increases competitiveness, reduces risk, and creates a system that can be trusted throughout the supply chain.” CQI is well-known in the industry as one of the main authorities on quality. They created and facilitate the most challenging of coffee courses, resulting in the most accredited certification a coffee professional can achieve, Q-Grader. The Q-Grader Course is a 6-day intensive course covering all aspects of quality in coffee, ensuring that all those that pass the 20 exams, are calibrated in coffee grading on a global level. The Q-Processing Course is only slightly less intensive. It is a 2-day course focusing on just one aspect of coffee quality, processing. Don’t be fooled by the length of the course though, Joel Shuler, the Q instructor has informed us…

“Students can expect two pretty intense days. I do my best to make the course informal and try to encourage the students to ask any questions they may have about processing. This is not a pretentious course where people go to show off their knowledge. It’s definitely one where students let down their guard and absorb as much as they can. I have been doing this for over a decade and still learn every class I teach.”

Honey Process, COMSA, Honduras

Why focus on just processing? One of the most impactful moments in the seed-to cup journey is the ‘process’ in which the cherry is removed from the seed. Each step and decision made at this part of the seed’s journey creates a major flavor impact that can be seen in the resulting cup. These impacts can range from creating syrupy fruit-forward punchy coffees to crisp and clear coffees to defective cups, all from the same fruit. The challenges and resulting flavors surrounding the perfection of a natural processed coffee are much different than that of a washed processed coffee. In the washed process, a producer is focusing on highlighting clean acidity, while trying to extenuate and manage the complexity of the bean itself. For this process a focus must be put on management of the fermentation process and in turn the microbial climate surrounding the ‘washing’ of the coffee. This is very different than the challenges of natural processed coffees, where carefully managed drying times and frequent turning of the beds is key to ensure the goal of a fruity, heavy bodied, sweet coffee, without mold or ferment defects.

Washed Process Fermentation, Cajamarca, Peru

Who should take this course? “Being well-educated and versed in coffee processing can benefit anyone who is involved in the coffee supply stream. Whether it is for the purpose of making more informed roasting decisions, better understanding coffee from a farm level, or explaining flavor profiles to customers and staff.” – Joel Shuler

“The Generalist or Level 1 course of this program aims to empower the consuming side of the coffee value chain to understand the language of, the basic biological principles of, and the intricacies and challenges of safely and consistently processing quality coffee. This course focuses on standardizing vocabulary around coffee processing and describing the scientific fundamentals behind good quality processing practices. This level also serves to analyze and interpret several myths about processing that have become commonplace in the industry. This course will train a new generation of informed coffee buyers, roasters and retailers, to know what questions to ask about their coffees and understand and appreciate the complexities of coffee processing.” -Coffee Quality Institute

Natural Process, Altura de San Ramon, Costa Rica

How are these goals met? Through multiple cuppings of the same lot of coffee processed many different ways, so that the only factor impacting the flavor (apart from roast nuances) is the processing. As well as presentations and discussions covering the following:
• Coffee Processing History, Coffee Anatomy, Focusing On The Fruit
• CQI’s Anatomy-Based Coffee Processing Method Classification
• Myth-Busting Of Commonly Held Assumptions And Stereotypes Of Processing Styles
• Biology Of Fermentation And How This Applies In Coffee Processing, Coffee
• Drying, Focusing On Water In A Seed And How It Is Removed
• Challenges And The Future Of Coffee Processing

Anaerobic Process with Cinnamon, La Candelilla, Costa Rica

At Royal NY, we have been watching so many improvements in quality that can be connected to either processing experimentation or adjustments in the current processing methods. It has become clear to us that a thorough knowledge of the specifics surrounding this aspect of a bean’s journey is vital to understanding the full picture of quality in coffee. We hope you will join us for this journey in January!

You can find out more information about this course and register for it here: