A Look at Digital Coffee Future’s Digital Origin Education Program

The new program connects coffee producers to one another, provides them with educational resources, and more.

BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Photos courtesy of the Cocaerol, Comal & Amprocal cooperatives in Honduras

Since 2021, Digital Coffee Future (DCF) has been working on a digital training program to address the needs of coffee producers. In September and October 2022, the DCF team—together with the Neumann Foundation and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)—guided 20 cooperatives from Central America through a pilot program.

Over the course of six weeks, participants had the opportunity to connect with other professionals. They worked on digital content, learned from their peers, and formed an online community. Today at Barista Magazine, we take a closer look at this innovative project and learn from the experiences of participants.

The exterior of a building at The Cocaerol Cooperative in Honduras. In the concrete patio outside the blue structure, coffee beans have been laid out to dry in the sun in several enormous piles. Another small green builfing and a pickup truck can be seen in the background.
The Cocaerol cooperative in Honduras saw the potential of this program helping to strengthen their business operations.

Equipping Coffee Producers for Digital Transformation

The Digital Origin Education Program (DOEP) is an online course designed by DCF to help coffee producers actors gain the skills they need to implement successful digital projects. Through lectures and hands-on exercises, participants learn how to assess their digital maturity, tailor digital tools to their needs, and develop a comprehensive plan for digital transformation.

The pilot program aims to equip cooperatives from Guatemala and Honduras with the skills to independently develop digital projects. The course offers a deep dive into digitalization and its potential for the sector. There’s an emphasis on understanding how to use existing tools and data to strengthen the cooperatives’ business operations.

A woman in a purple striped shirt and baseball cap works gathering coffee cherries in a basket around her waist and looks over at the camera.
Producers have begun to realize the potential of digitalization in coffee production through the Digital Origin Education Program.

Marisol Velásquez of the Honduran coffee cooperative COCREBISTOL says that the cooperatives have received interesting and innovative training through the program. “I believe that each coffee company will be strengthened in the different processes it carries out,“ she says. “We have learned a lot about digitalization and digitization, which if we apply (these lessons) will allow us to have the necessary information on time and also reduce working hours. Personally, it has helped me to learn many new and handy tools.“

Workers tend to coffee seedlings on a rasied platform. The plants are wrapped in plastic to retain moisture in their soil. One man is on his cell phone while two women are gathering seedlings into a plastic crate.
Streamlining their business operations with the help of this program, coffee cooperatives are now better equipped to tackle challenges such as traceability while increasing efficiency.

A Step-by-Step Approach To Digitalization

Arnold Alvarado from the cooperative Puringla Café, who participated in the program, says, “Digitalization is a process that is very important to be able to have positive results in each process of the companies. DOEP is a program that allows us to carry out these processes through digitalization using methods, programs, and applications with which we can streamline our processes.“

In the coming year, Digital Coffee Future will continue to expand its education process and foster growth as it seeks to assist small producers in over 70 countries. DCF’s aim is for the program to have a positive impact on coffee cooperatives and their journey toward digitalization.

A woman in a wide brimmed hat and plaid shirt gathers coffee cherries into a basket tied to her waist. She has a long braid and earrings.
Digital Coffee Future plans to expand its program in the coming year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine, and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.

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