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Workshop for U.S. specialists.

Workshop for U.S. specialists

As the market for prime coffee continues to surge ahead in the U.S., people planning to start up their own enterprises have created a parallel demand for training in the key elements of a successful coffee operation. So far, though, they have swiftly discovered that there are no formally structured courses available on a regular basis for either the small owner-operator or senior roastery staff from the larger companies.

The training gap was created by the departure of so many roasters in the "Dismal Seventies," before they could pass their experience on to a new generation of coffee enthusiasts. Now, however, Probat Roastery Supply has stepped into the breach by organizing a regular series of Coffee Workshops, using the full range of facilities at their new Burlingame center. The series begins on November 9/10 of this year.

These will be intensive, hands-on affairs, tightly scheduled two-day sessions under the supervision of some of the industry's most experienced practitioners. They are designed for newcomers to the world of coffee as well as for established operators who feel in need of a quick refresher course or technological up-dating. They will make use of the Probat Center's elegant "Coffee University" lecture theatre, the hi-tech laboratory with its modern cupping facilities, and a full range of operational on-site roastery plant equipment in the Demostration Hall.

"Of course, we've always helped our customers to run their plant as effectively as possible, but ever since we set up our U.S. base in Burlingame, California, they've been asking for something more comprehensive, so that's what we're offering now," says Probat Roastery Supply's president, Peter von Gimborn.

"Basically, the workshops will cover the most essential elements in any successful coffee operation--the processing itself, the all-important matter of strict quality control, and the sometimes neglected arts of cupping and testing. The session will be run by our own in-house experts and senior technical specialists brought over from our parent company in West Germany, Probat-Werke of Emmerich. Cupping and testing sessions will be supervised by two of the U.S. coffee trades people--Erna Knutsen and Alfred Peet."

The workshops will be organized at two levels to meet different requirements. Both will place a good deal of emphasis on the good, old reliable "Learning by Doing" approach. For the bigger gourmet and specialist roasters and major regional or national companies, Day One of the Workshop will begin with identifying the critical steps in the coffee process, from green to ground.

These will include the appropriate approach to the initial purchase of green coffees and the salient requirements of cupping the suppliers's samples to ensure that the beans are exactly what the business requires. Next, participants progress to studies of storage and blending methods for raw coffee and, finally, to the heart of the matter, roasting and cooling techniques.

The second day will begin with instruction on the proper storage of roasted coffees, before the groups go on to examine the vital subject of brewing technology. "Many companies are involved with the out-of-home sector, and they constantly have to face difficulties with customers who spoil their good coffee in a dozen different ways," adds Peter von Gimborn. "That's a problem the workshops will be tackling head-on." After lunch, there will be presentations on processing control, conveying and transporting, and the essential principles involved in creating the most efficient plant layout, and the day will end with an open evaluation session.

Running the tandem with this type of Workshop will be the second, rather more flexible program, which will be structured to meet the specific requirements and preferences of specialty roasters and coffee companies. These will cover storage, blending and roasting of coffee, grinding, transporting and conveying, as well as forward planning of production schedules and plant expansion, the logistics of inventory control, and the essentials of plant configuration.

But those are only the broad outlines. The November Workshop will also tackle the basics, with a section for coffee newcomers on the essentials of setting up a new business from scratch. "This is where most first-timers make the most expensive mistakes," says von Gimborn. "Our intention is to put their feet on the correct path right from the outset." Likewise, the December Workshop will include a section on expanding a gourmet operation, and next year's events will cover the intricacies of espresso coffee, and the rules for effective product management.

Maximum of 13 People

All the Workshops will be limited to a maximum of 15 people. Fees, which include luncheons and full documentation, are $300 for a single day's attendance, and $475 per person for both days.

"It's quite true that there are plenty of opportunities for new coffee enterprises these days, but life is tough out there and the competition from alternative beverages is unforgiving," concludes Peter von Gimborn. "Even so, good coffee is a really royal product, which can provide a deeply satisfying livelihood, and we intend to provide participants with the best possible qualifications for a prosperous business--with a scope for bigger things."

PHOTO : Face-to-face involvement will be included in the workshops.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:coffee roasting
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Sep 1, 1989
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