During Food Meets Science 2022, we had the opportunity to meet a great coffee specialist – Darrin Daniel. Darrin began his career in specialty coffee in the 80s working as a barista and later as a roaster’s assistant for the roaster/retailer Coffee Corner Ltd in Eugene, Oregon. He has worked for coffee companies in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. His early work with Illy caffè sparked his interest and growth in coffee education and training. Daniel has traveled to over 34 countries sourcing green coffee and tea. He has forged numerous relationships with coffee growers, mill managers, and private and public organizations in Latin America, East Africa, and the Indo/Pacific. Now he works for the Cup of Excellence where he is the executive director. What does the Cup of Excellence do? The Cup of Excellence (COE) competition has pioneered integrity and transparency in the coffee industry. The level of scrutiny that COE coffees undergo is unmatched anywhere in the industry. This means that the quality of COE coffees is also unmatched. They give farmers the tools they need to improve the economic model of their farms with recognition and financial reward for their hard work and effort.
During his lecture, the specialist mentioned many phenomena in the coffee market. Coffee prices are rising. We had the opportunity to see a list from the last 23 years. This means that, for many consumers, quality trumps price. Darrin mentioned that Japan is their biggest customer and that they started their business in Brazil. During the lecture, we had the opportunity to see a short movie and listen to a farmer who took part in the Cup of Excellence competition. He talked about their goals and stories as coffee producers. His statements showed that the organization of the Cup of Excellence provides them with many benefits and opportunities. The film also featured employees of the organization dealing with, for example, the search for farmers who could take part in the competition. During Darrin’s speech, we also learned about the trends in the coffee lovers market, e.g. how our tastes change.
Darrin mentioned that the times we live in are a very interesting period for coffee. We learned from the speech that the company also conducts DNA tests on coffee. Amazing! As it turns out, research has concluded that the biggest coffee paradise is Ethiopia. The organization is very concerned about the impact of climate change on the coffee plant. Consequently, COE is constantly looking for new, potent plant varieties. Genetic testing is to provide us with information about new varieties. We sincerely hope that coffee will stay with us forever.