PNG hosts first Q-grader training for coffee tasters

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Friday, June 16 2017

Papua New Guinea hosted its first Q-grader training for local coffee cuppers or tasters last month. As a result, 4 Q-graders have been fully accredited by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).

12 participants from the coffee industry were selected to attend the training organised in partnership between the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program, an Australian Government initiative co-funded by the New Zealand Government. The training was held from May 22 – 27, 2017.

Coffee tasters of Papua New Guinea recently underwent a rigorous Q-grading course that was held locally for the first time. Picture credit: PNG Coffee Industry Corporation

CIC Marketing Officer Jacqueline Ruguna said having Q-graders was a start for the industry in its pursuit of a pathway for specialty coffee exports.

“PNG no doubt has some of the most beautiful coffees in the world and having certified coffee cuppers/graders to certify (as a group not individually) that our coffees are worth paying an extra dollar will be rewarding for everyone, particularly our farmers,” she said.

She said the aim of the training was to educate cuppers about “what is expected from the world if we’re taking specialty and premiums”.

Coffee exports earn an average K350 million (AUD148 million) per annum for the country. It remains an important export commodity and almost 85% of locally produced coffee is grown, harvested and partly processed by smallholder growers.

PHAMA PNG country manager, Sidney Suma, said the program’s involvement in the Coffee Industry Working Group had been instrumental in addressing issues in the coffee value chain which will lead to improved earnings for the industry and diversify its exports of coffee products.

Following the course, 4 members of PNG’s coffee industry have been accredited as Q-graders. Picture credit: PNG Coffee Industry Corporation

Newly certified Q-grader Mark Munnul from Kosem Exports said the training had placed him in a better position to understand the comments and reports by international Q-graders. He said it would also assist him when discussing coffee quality with their clients.

“Being one of only 5 Q-graders in PNG, and the only one from Jiwaka Province, I am extremely proud. I can now use my position as a certified Q-grader to add on to and give relevance to what we are doing in the coffee industry.”

Munnul thanked PHAMA for “providing invaluable trainings to CIC staff and other stakeholders in the coffee industry”.

For further information, contact Sidney Suma at s.suma@phama.biz or on +675 7640 3290

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