January 2017 marks a new turning point for the coffee school! New organization, new workshops, new roaster, a lot is changing for this new year. But before telling you more about this, Jérémie gives you a look back on the foundation of our school.
To train our roasters…
From the very start, Belco has drawn a link between the selling of our green coffee and the training of our roasters. The story started, with the creation of Belco in 2007 when Nicolas, the founder of Belco, got into the habit of proposing our clients to taste the coffees. The goal at the beginning was to promote the new harvests, one of Belco’s most important quality charter.
In eight years, we can only look up to its success when we see how the concept of new harvests and freshness in the coffee has become a norm for roasters in France. We can actually see today roasters only offering seasonal coffees.
After the arrival of Alexandre, the training workshops at Belco got more structured with the creation of a one-day class on coffee production processes and the notion of terroirs.
This is how I have met Alexandre in 2009: on the occasion of a coffee training session. Before this, I had been selling coffee in a store in the city center to consumers and professionals alike.
At the time, I felt confident about my knowledge on coffee. But the day of the training session, something that I didn’t expect happened: I realized I was selling a product that deep down I didn’t really know or understand.
The impact of altitude on the quality of coffee, the discovery of the vast number of coffee varieties, shade-grown coffee…here are some examples of factors linked to terroirs that I hadn’t heard about before Alexandre’s workshops.
I can only thank him today as he sparked an interest in me I had never suspected existed and later, turned into a vocation: the desire to learn and pass on my knowledge. From that specific moment, my goal has been to step through the looking glass.
Training the trainer!
After spending more than 6 years working in the store close to the consumers, I had the opportunity to start working for Belco as the laboratory technician: the training of the trainer!
What an amazing experience it is to work in a laboratory for someone like me who didn’t know so much about this wonderful product. It is during my last cupping session with Angel, our green coffee buyer that I have learned how to prepare a Brazilian cupping process. We had tasted around 15 different Bourbon BY washing station from Burundi! What a nice introduction to the sensorial diversity of a producing country, when I thought that a country only had ONE tasting profile.
The famous “French wine”.
Preparing, assisting to the cupping sessions. Learning how to roast on a sampler as opposed to our 5kg Joper via a software. Calibration, screening, density measurement….
Learning different brewing methods, I have spent more than one year training in Belco’s coffee laboratory while traveling at the origin, meeting with producers, roasters and visiting internationally renowned training center.
Launching of the 2014 workshops
It is at the beginning of 2014 that the training programs were launched, concocted by Alexandre and Angel. Those training programs were divided into several categories: theme-oriented one-day workshops (blend, cupping, green coffee…) and 5 days’ workshops.
After three years animating those training classes, it is time for us to announce the end of those programs as you know it to introduce new ones as to adapt to the ever-evolving coffee market and knowledge.
Before getting into more details about the new workshops, I would like to thank all the people who have participated to those training sessions since January 2014. From the group who has participated to the first “expert workshop” in 2014, and were so delighted to be the first participants of this wonderful one-week adventure, to the people who have participated afterwards and will, I hope recognize themselves in this article.
The development of these new workshops in 2017 is first and foremost the fruit of all the experiences acquired alongside wonderful participants.
And to end this beautiful journey, the picture of the group who has immortalized the last “expert workshop” session:
In my next article, I will present you the new program available by January 2017 !