Coffee production is an enormous, global industry, but the fermentation of coffee beans has not been a major focus for producers — until now. Highlighting the scope of the industry and this new emphasis on the impact of fermentation, The Fermentation Association’s webinar El Estado Del Arte En La Fermentación Del Café generated registrations from around the world. Registrations were nearly twice what TFA’s largest webinar generated.
TFA’s first Spanish-language webinar, the final count of registrants was well over 1,000, and came from 42 countries. The continents of North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia were all represented. Registrations from key coffee-growing areas — Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Honduras — accounted for 70% of those that signed up. But we had folks from Ethiopia, Belgium, Nepal, Laos and the United Arab Emirates as well!
TFA partnered with the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) last year and produced a webinar in August entitled The State of the Art in Coffee Fermentation. SCA’s Technical Officer, Dr. Mario Fernandez, brought together two esteemed speakers in the industry that discussed different approaches to fermentation. Felipe Ospina, CEO of Colors of Nature Group, and Ruben Sorto, CEO of BioFortune Group, represented two sides of the subject. At the risk of oversimplifying, Ospina favors traditional, natural fermentation methods. Sorto is investing in how to apply the technologies and processes from other food and beverage production industries — like winemaking, for example — to enhance the end product. Ospina connected from offices in Japan; Sorto spoke from his Honduras operations.
These speakers also were part of last year’s English-language webinar on the same subject and with the same speakers. The response to that session was so overwhelmingly positive that it led us to reprise the session, but to do it this time in Spanish. It was a bit challenging for our non-Spanish-speaking TFA team, but we were helped out enormously by our colleague from Monterrey, Mexico, Raquel Guajardo, a fermentation author, educator and entrepreneur. Dr. Fernandez, after being instrumental in planning and promoting both sessions, was called away suddenly on the day of this webinar. Ms Guajardo filled in admirably as our last-minute replacement moderator.
We look forward to more collaborations with SCA. Watch for another joint effort in late April/early May, after SCA’s Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston, April 8-10.