Green Coffee Quality Manager, Neil Oney Leads Workshop: The Green Coffee Lifespan at CRG Retreat 2023

This year, Neil Oney, the Green Coffee Quality Manager at Mercon Specialty, had the privilege of attending the Coffee Roaster's Guild Retreat and hosting a workshop on "The Green Coffee Lifespan." Discover more about his enlightening experience and access his informative presentation below.

In early October, the PNW saw the Coffee Roaster's Guild Retreat return, held at the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, WA. This scenic location sits on the border of Canada, providing attendees with proximity to the neighboring country without actually crossing the border.

Attending the 21st CRG Retreat for the first time was an honor, especially since I was invited to be a lead instructor for a novel class called “The Green Coffee Lifespan.” This course was designed to investigate the factors contributing to the aging of green coffee and offer potential solutions to preserve its exquisite taste for extended periods.

Industry leaders presented a series of captivating lectures on Friday, covering a range of topics, including strategies for developing exceptional coffee programs, utilizing color theory to enhance coffee roasting and the science behind how our bodies process sweetness and acidity in coffee. These informative sessions provided invaluable insights for coffee roasting and tasting professionals.

Roasting was undoubtedly one of the main attractions of the event. Throughout the weekend, at least 16 roasters were continuously running the Roaster Tent, providing attendees with an unparalleled opportunity to sample a diverse range of machine styles of roasting and learn from some of the most talented roasters in the industry through a practical and immersive experience.

The following day, attendees were allowed to participate in roast profiles and sample roasting workshops. As students eagerly engaged in their respective workshops, my class ran concurrently and delved into the intricate chemistry behind coffee. We explored how coffee flavor evolves and examined potential causes for such changes. To conclude the course, we engaged in a thought-provoking discussion on the strategies utilized by roasters to tackle faded coffee.

On Sunday, those who remained had the chance to broaden their knowledge about the intricacies of the C Market with the guidance of Mercon Specialty Sales Executive, Emily Smith. Though a complex subject, attendees were presented with a comprehensive understanding of how the C Market operates and its impact on their careers as professionals in the coffee industry, even if they are not frequently involved.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend with exceptional learning prospects and incredible people. Anticipation for the next event is high, and I strongly encourage anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of coffee, roasting, or the industry in general to attend.

Topic Summary: 

The Green Coffee Lifespan is a “seed-to-seed” presentation with something to learn for every skill level. The reality is that all roasters at one point or another will come across aged coffee and this course aims to give students understanding on what aged coffee is and resources on how to approach it differently. We will be diving deep into how green coffee chemically and biologically evolves over time-- from packing for export through port arrival and from warehouse storage to its final destination-- the roaster. Students will leave with an understanding what physical changes occur to green coffee over time and how age impacts flavor and taste.