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Karen Sauther: Passing the Q Arabica Grader Exam

In the early part of October, Coffee Enterprises sent me to New York to complete Q Arabica Grader certification. I arrived early Wednesday to make it in time for my Q Grader practice cupping. There is something exasperating and exciting about stepping off a plane and heading straight to a cupping room full of strangers. It brings me joy to say I am much more comfortable doing this than I was a few years ago.

Completing my Q Arabica Grader exams was an excellent experience at Irving Farm HQ & the Loft. The coursework, exams and laboratory setups were well organized. The instructor kept everyone on task, and diligently enforced the rules and standards set by CQI. The instructor led discussions following practice sessions were academic, yet open. This contributed to an atmosphere of respect and focus integral to testing. It is an honor to join the ranks of Q Graders around the world, and I am grateful for the existence of such a system of standards and the opportunities it presents throughout the coffee supply chain. The sensory staff at Coffee Enterprises now includes five certified Q Arabica Graders. We, at Coffee Enterprises, recognize the value of having standards to measure against, the means to calibrate, and a universally accepted language to convey results.

Just a block away on W 19th, I stopped off at Gotham Coffee Roasters ,a cozy spot to people watch while enjoying a single origin espresso, pour over or Snake Bite (espresso poured over dark chocolate). The Kenya Kiganjo pour over was very pleasant, exhibiting a vibrant acidity, peach and red berry notes, with a well-balanced juiciness. The coffees at Gotham are roasted by Bespoke Coffee at the Pulley Collective, essentially a haven for anyone wanting to roast small batches without many of the associated headaches of owning a roasting facility, so the roaster can focus on the craft.

Finding myself with a day to spare between Q Grader practice and exam days, I took a short jaunt south to Royal Coffee in South Plainfield, NJ, where I had the opportunity to tour the labs and storage warehouses. Nothing beats that feeling of walking down the aisle of countless coffee bags, so perfectly stacked and aligned, and that overwhelming respect for the immense labor that brought these beans to this point in the supply chain. After cupping some impressive Crown Jewel coffees and meeting several smiling faces, I departed for my temporary home base north of the city. It seems coffee-related trips are always crammed with a lot going on in a short amount of time, and it is the people who make it feel so friendly, less rushed, and that this industry is well worth the professional and personal investment.

For more information about the Q system standards and educational opportunities, visit

For more information on how Coffee Enterprises can improve the quality and consistency of your coffee products, visit or get in touch with the author directly at

October Sensory Exercise – Apples

Yesterday in the lab we were doing some sensory testing on everyone’s favorite fall food – apples! Vincent had visited Poverty Lane orchards in Lebanon, NH. It’s a must visit orchard with hundreds of different heirloom varieties. (   Below are just a few that he brought back.  Tasters preferred the Hudson Golden Gem and Pitmaston Pineapple for their texture and overall flavor. 

Apples sampled:

Westfield Seek-no-further, Sweet Alford, Nehou, Carl Adams, Yellow Newton Pippin, Greening, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Pitmaston Pineapple

Dan, Stephen + Peter

Pitmaston Pineapple


Vincent’s reward


Dagmawi Iyasu Eminetu visits Coffee Enterprises

Dagmawi Iyasu Eminetu visited Coffee Enterprises yesterday to share his journey and his research completing the master’s degree curriculum at Illy’s Università del Caffè. Dagmawi also spoke about his molecular biology and chemistry background, Ethiopian coffee culture, the coffee exchange system there, and coffee-related government structure, including new reforms. It is clear Dagmawi is devoted and open to scientifically advancing the ever-intertwined Ethiopian coffee and culture.

Spencer Turer: The Role of the Roaster’s Guild

Spencer Turer at the cupping table

Spencer Turer at the cupping table

Spencer Turer, our vice president, wrote about the Roasters Guild’s role in specialty coffee industry leadership and the founding of the Roasters Guild for the Flamekeeper column in Roast Magazine (read here).

How can coffee roasters continue to inspire the specialty coffee industry and the Specialty Coffee Association of America?  What will be next for the Roasters Guild?

Common ‘Grounds’: Screening for Cancer in Coffee Regions

In June 2012, nurse practitioner Ellen Starr arrived at the foothills of the Mount Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania, exhausted after a bumpy, two-hour car ride. She and a colleague from Williston-based Grounds for Health were supposed to supervise a local health care provider they had trained to perform cervical precancer screenings.

But no “patients” showed up, and the visitors were perplexed. Another individual — a local health promoter — later told them why.

Starr recounted: “Word got out in the community that a woman would go in, lie down on the table, spread her legs, the nurse would … insert her hand in her vagina, take hold of her uterus, pull it out, treat it or test it, and shove it back again.”

The health promoter and a priest quickly spread the word that none of those rumors was true. Soon enough, women began arriving for tests.

Starr said the incident illustrates the crucial role that community leaders play in aiding the mission of Grounds for Health, which aims to reduce cervical cancer among women in the developing world. It works closely with public health authorities and coffee cooperatives to train local doctors, nurses and community health promoters. The nonprofit coordinates screening and treatment services in areas where the disease is prevalent.

One of the original employees at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters — now Keurig Green Mountain — founded the organization, as a result of a shrewd observation in the field. Daniel Cox was visiting a Mexican coffee cooperative in 1995 and had brought along a friend. Retired obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Francis Fote noted that the women there were dying of cervical cancer at an alarming rate.

Caused by the sexually transmitted HPV virus, cervical is the second most common cancer in women living in less developed regions, according to the World Health Organization. Since the women lack access to screening, cervical cancer often escapes detection until it has advanced and women are exhibiting symptoms. By then, their chances of getting proper treatment for the late-stage disease are poor — hence the high fatality rate: Nearly a quarter-million women in low-income countries die of cervical cancer every year, compared to 35,514 everywhere else, according to the WHO’s ICO Information Centre on HPV and Cancer.

Fote urged his younger friend to start a screening clinic.

“Doc, I’m a coffee guy,” Cox said he replied.

Fote told him: “Well, you have contacts.”

GMCR and Ben & Jerry’s were among the first to front funds for Grounds for Health when it started in 1996. Spanish-speaking volunteer clinicians from the U.S. provided training to local health professionals and read the screening tests.

About four years in, Cox hit a wall. We’ve either got to expand and hire someone full time, or we ought to close shop, he remembered thinking in 1999, after he’d left GMCR and started his own business, Coffee Enterprises. Cox went with the former option, and Grounds for Health hired its first executive director.

Its third, Guy Stallworthy, joined the nonprofit in mid-2014, bringing more than 30 years of experience in health and development.

Ellen Starr and Mesfin Wana in Ethiopia - COURTESY OF GROUNDS FOR HEALTHEllen Starr and Mesfin Wana in Ethiopia

Today, the organization operates in Ethiopia, Kenya and Peru. The group has worked in Mexico, Nicaragua and Tanzania, too. It has screened more than 70,000 women and treated about 5,000 of them. It has also trained nearly 460 health care providers.

Stallworthy said it makes financial sense to keep the number of U.S.-based staff small — it’s currently five — and to train on-site health providers to do the screenings. “It’s all about having greater impact and building capacity,” said Stallworthy. He noted that projected expenditures for this fiscal year are approximately $700,000.

Starr, who is the project’s clinical director, agreed with his assessment. “This is not missionary work. This is not the great white hope coming into Africa and saying, ‘Here, let us provide you services,'” she said. “The [local health] ministries need to be on board, both philosophically and financially.”

Grounds for Health now focuses on sub-Saharan Africa because the need there is great. And it’s able to start “from more of a clean slate,” said Starr. The African countries where it’s working either don’t have cervical cancer prevention programs or have nascent ones that align closely with the nonprofit’s.

Primarily serving women ages 30 to 49, the group uses a visual inspection program. A health care provider rests a cotton swab soaked in vinegar on the cervix for about two minutes. He or she then removes it and evaluates the cervix, looking for white spots that have been made visible by the vinegar. Many U.S. health care providers use the same simple technique.

If a woman tests positive, she can be treated with cryotherapy. This involves freezing potentially precancerous cells with carbon dioxide. Both the screening and cryotherapy are done on the same day, so the woman is tested and treated in one visit.

That makes it more convenient for the cooperatives, which are “wonderful champions” of the work that the nonprofit does and often provide transportation for the patients, Starr noted.

“They want their workers to stay healthy,” she pointed out.

At Stallworthy’s urging, the organization is looking to move into other agricultural industries such as flowers, cocoa and tea, as well as garment factories. Workers in those industries are usually women with limited access to health care, he noted.

“Living in a globalized world, we’re all benefiting from access to products at a cheap price,” said Stallworthy. “It is incumbent on us to realize the inequities that lie behind them as consumers and companies.” In this case, that’s in the realm of women’s health.

“We’re not done until every woman in our target age group has actually been screened,” Starr promised.


Innovation is also a priority for Grounds for Health. Since spring 2015, the organization has been using a handheld cervicography device developed by Tel Aviv-based startup MobileODT. In-country coordinators take pictures of a cervix with the device and upload the images to a cloud system. From her office in Williston, Starr reviews the images and gives her assessment to colleagues in the field. But Wi-Fi connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa can be unreliable, so it doesn’t always work.

Today Cox, 67, lives in Shelburne and sits on the nonprofit’s board of directors. His main job, he said, is to support the organization by leveraging his contacts in the coffee industry, which continues to be its main source of funding. Grounds for Health has since received some aid from the U.S. government and gets corporate support, too.

Looking back, Cox is amazed by how much the organization has achieved. “I had a little piece in doing the right thing, and it feels pretty good,” he said.

Grounds for Health Coffee Auction

Coffee Analysgrounds-for-health-logots is donating a complete Physical & Sensory Evaluation for 2 coffee products (green & roasted)

For complete auction details, please click HERE

Value: $375.00 

The true measure of any beverage program is the quality: how does is taste? Branding, promotion, and merchandising will capture the first sale, but only quality will keep your customers returning time after time. 

Coffee Analysts is an independent laboratory and consulting firm that specializes in quality assurance, product development, and specification creation of coffee and coffee-related products. Coffee Analysts does not sell coffee; we conduct unbiased scientific analysis throughout the farm-to-cup supply chain. Our experience enables us to provide insights that assist our clients in making informed decisions in managing their coffee quality by addressing practical issues from a scientific perspective.


Green Coffee Analysis
(550 gram sample) 
Roasted Coffee Analysis
(4 retail / foodservice packages
  • Visual Color Inspection
  • Moisture Content
  • Water Activity
  • Defect Count / Grading (SCAA & ICE)
  • Screen Size
  • Density
  • Sample Roasting (SCAA Protocol)
  • Cupping by Sensory Panel
  • Complete Analytical Report
  • Net Weight, Oxygen and CO2 analysis
  • Moisture Content & Water Activity
  • Degree of Roast (Agtron)
  • Grind Analysis (Ro-Tap)
  • Bean Breakage & Roasted Defect Count
  • Brewing to Clients’ Recipe
  • Brewed Solids %, Extraction %, and pH
  • Tasting by Sensory Panel
  • Complete Analytical Report

We don’t sell coffee and tea, we help you manage quality. Please let us know how Coffee Analysts can support your coffee & tea programs and help contribute to your success. We provide coffee business solutions.

You can review our coffee laboratory operation online at or contact us directly at +1-802-864-5760 (US 800-375-3398) to schedule a visit in person.

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