The partnership explores how scientific methodology contributes to a strong foundation of practices across the coffee-value chain.
BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
An undeniable fact about coffee is that it brings people together. I know this firsthand, as I think back to the conversation I had with Almohanad Almarwai and Morten Münchow at the Arabian Coffee Institute’s booth during the World of Coffee Dubai trade show last week.
Almohanad is the co-founder and CEO of the Arabian Coffee Institute (ACI), which was established with the vision of becoming the coffee excellence leader in the Middle East. Being one of the few Authorized Specialty Coffee Association Trainers (ASTs) and Q-Graders in the region, Almohanad is truly laying the foundation to achieve this vision.
Morten, on the other hand, has been spending a good amount of time on both the coffee business and research. He has done work as diverse as teaching coffee roasting at the London School of Coffee, running research projects at the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen, and developing the roasting certification system for the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, which is now part of the global Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).
In 2014, Morten founded CoffeeMind, a platform for scientists working to empower the coffee community with scientific methodology in education, product development, and quality control; he has worked on trendy competition topics like freezing milk. So it was only a matter of time before he and Almohanad started collaborating and developing educational protocols for the Arabian market via their shared vision.
“In the Arabic region, there is very little content regarding coffee education, and most of it is not credible or backed by scientific data,” says Almohanad. “We work with CoffeeMind to create an Arabian curriculum that is accredited on an international level. Our main objective is to spread awareness and educate the Arab world about coffee, but also to introduce the rest of the world to the ways of farming, processing, and making coffee in the Middle East.”
The ACI is a team of experts, educators, and researchers that covers all aspects of the coffee-value chain. The team offers a wide range of accredited training courses (from SCA, the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), and the Sustainable Coffee Institute), and aims to provide a state-of-the-art, out-of-the-box approach to delivering scientifically proven methodologies for the specialty-coffee community.
The ACI provides consultation services on individual, corporate, and governmental levels, and is currently working on building local and regional coffee communities and chapters. By coming together with CoffeeMind, the ACI aims to establish a research and development division specialized in providing professional programs and scientific research.
During the World of Coffee Dubai event, I also had the opportunity to attend Morten’s lecture “Sensory Science Applied on Roasting & Sensory Education,” which illuminated the aim of the two organizations’ partnership. Morten’s extensive education and background in scientific research in fields such as theory of science and history of ideas has helped him establish a platform that makes science and hard data available and accessible for the coffee community.
Together they are working on developing an internationally recognized curriculum in Arabic and English, starting off with the Coffee Flavor Wheel.
Right now, the ACI is based in Saudi Arabia but has plans to expand into the UAE, Egypt, Qatar, and Jordan by the end of 2022. What’s more, they plan to launch the very first Arabic coffee magazine, a publication that will focus on R&D and trends that originate from the Middle East.
It’s true that the Arabian world is a largely untapped market for coffee education, and so I am very excited to see that Arabian Coffee Institute and CoffeeMind have come together to create an accredited curriculum that brings together science, education, and culture in that part of the world. The best is yet to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is 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.