Ethiopia Trip Report
Q training and testing.
August 23, September 2, 2009
Sponsored by Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, Fintrac, Compete, Coffee Quality Institute, USAID.
What a pleasure.
The extended schedule added an amazing amount of success for adding such a small amount of time. The schedule gave us the time to teach the very basic foundations which lead to incredible success in the tests. The students had the time to understand the functions behind the tests and exercises. This led to a deeper knowledge and grasp of the concepts of the Q.
The schedule afforded more time to develop proper protocol and kept the time pressures away from the environment. The pressure to hurry up has led to a certain panic and chaos in other experiences.
The additional time worked in conjunction with an organized schedule. The three instructors, K.C. O’Keefe, Daniel Mulu and myself, had tasks assigned and had the ability to prepare future exercises and roll one after another in a sensible fashion.
The competence of the three instructors greatly added to the success of the class . Mutual respect and the recognition of different styles and knowledge base greatly enhanced the students’ instruction and learning. The ability to lean on each other allowed all three instructors to give value to the class. It was a wonderful synergy of personalities and styles.
All of these positives still do not explain the tremendous success of this particular class. Twenty folks, competent, spirited, serious, intelligent, but, above all open to learning demonstrated an amazing level of expertise. They did it all. They learned the foundation which allowed them to succeed at the tests. They helped each other and supported each other when appropriate. But, in the testing they realized that the integrity of the Q is based on their own personal integrity. What a breath of fresh air. No pressure to cheat. No signs or even hints of cheating occurred. The students were good, very good. They are blessed with above average sensory skills. The have solid coffee knowledge and cupping skills. They all learned the SCAA cupping form in short order. Even the clean cup, sweetness and uniformity sections were understood and mastered. They increased sensory vocabulary during the tasting and smelling local products. The connection between common goods in their world and coffee sensations was made quickly and solidly. The idea that vocabulary is both local and universal was quickly grasped by all the students. Man, these guys are good. There was no apparent status. The students treated each other with respect. They all pitched in to clean. They all pitched in to run the cuppings in good order.
. They supported each other and the process. Attuned, involved, excited. A real pleasure.
K.C.’s report is an amazing document. It is a tangible representation of his analytical abilities and his dedication to doing things right. He was a pleasure to work with. Daniel Mulu is a generous spirited person. His preparation of the site and folks speak to his skills logistically. His heart is huge and he provided enthusiastic encouragement to KC, myself and mostly to the students. I really look forward to working with both of these guys. What a pleasure.