India's Sustainable Coffee Growth Opens Doors To The Global Market

The 5th World Coffee Conference 2023 was organised by the International Coffee Organisation


The 5th World Coffee Conference (WCC) 2023 was organised by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) in collaboration with the Coffee Board of India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, Government of Karnataka, and the Coffee Industry. The conference was held at Bangalore Palace in Bengaluru. The event included 45 knowledge sessions, with 127 speakers, of which 80 were international experts and 47 were Indian. The 5th edition of WCC ended with participation from 80 countries, including 2609 delegates, 323 International delegates, 253 exhibitors, 13,947 business visitors and 347 B2B meetings.

Amardeep Singh Bhatia, Additional Secretary, Dept of Commerce, Govt of India inaugurated the Growers Conclave in the presence of Dr. K.G. Jagadeesha, IAS, CEO and Secretary, Coffee Board of India and a host of dignitaries, government officials, national & international delegates and Coffee Growers. 

“It’s been an honour for India to host WCC 2023 in the city of Bengaluru over the last few days and the team has done a wonderful job. The demand for coffee has grown over the past decade. I read that we consume close to 3 billion cups of coffee worldwide which is expected to double in the next 25 years. The demand for coffee is being led by coffee-producing countries who are rising to the demands despite the challenges of climate change and other factors. Adoption of sustainable practices which is the theme of this conference is apt and the discussions have resulted in enlightening insights. Coffee Growers are at the heart of this conference. Therefore the conference addresses challenges and solutions aimed at this community, many of whom are fourth and fifth-generation growers”, said Bhatia at the inaugural ceremony.

Topics of discussion included the circular economy, placing the livelihood of farmers at the core of the business model, breeding climate-resilient variants of coffee beans, scientific collaborations between countries and more.

At the session, ‘Exploring Coffee Origins: An Insider's Perspective of Coffee Production and Agricultural Practices,’ Dr. Manuel Diaz offered insights into the journey of coffee from farm to market, focusing on the challenges faced by farmers and the strategies they employ to ensure high-quality coffee production. “The backbone of the coffee value system is the flavour of the coffee. We are still in the evolution phase of coffee processing. Fermentation, metabolic action, and heat pressure play an active role, as do methods of growing coffee in various regions. Hence, farmers need to focus on producing flavours and not beans” explained Diaz.

Advancement in technology and innovation are the two primary factors which not only mitigate the negative impacts of climate change but also help to ramp up coffee production, said experts at the session on ‘Correlation of Quality with Advances in Machine Technology, Mechanization and Processing of Coffee’. “Technology can not only increase efficiency but also offer better quality control and improve blends leading to more profits and happier clients”, said Carlos Brando, a coffee expert with over 20 years of experience in the coffee industry.

The WCC 2023 also hosted a Start-up Conclave where founders of start-ups talked about their coffee entrepreneurship journey.

Bharat Sethi, CEO and Founder of Rage Coffee said, “Within the current coffee market, we observed that packaged coffee is a great opportunity. The age group above 35 considered tea as their choice of beverage however, the coffee consumption is driven by Gen Z of the millennials. Hence the brand’s key aim is to cater to the youth.”

IB Bopanna, Founder Director, CHOMBUKA Coorg Coffee (OPC) agreed and reinforced that Coffee farming in India is well positioned for change due to the growing demand for an affordable luxury beverage. He urged entrepreneurs to tap into opportunities for value addition at the farmer’s level. Several other founders from India and abroad spoke of their experiences at the Start-up Conclave.

The global conference hosted many skill-building workshops. From baristas to coffee tasters and blenders to tech innovators, experts from across countries came together to offer industry-specific knowledge and insights into building the skill sets required to thrive in the coffee industry.

Addressing the media on the final day, Dr. K.G. Jagadeesha, IAS, CEO and Secretary, the Coffee Board of India, said, "India's growing reputation in the coffee industry, known for its sustainable and high-quality production, is gaining global recognition. The World Coffee Conference has played a vital role in highlighting India's commitment to quality and sustainability. This is opening up business opportunities and fostering innovations in the coffee industry. The conference attracted interest from industrialists, tech enthusiasts, and innovators, driving the growth of India's coffee culture, especially in cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Kolkata. The Coffee shops have also transformed into creative hubs, and we offer support to aspiring entrepreneurs despite the challenges they may encounter. We promote sound agricultural practices and raise global awareness to improve coffee production."

WCC 2023 hosted competitions and championships during the 4-day event including the National Barista Championship and a cash prize was also awarded. Hrishikesh Mohite from Café’ De Meet won the National Barista Championship 2024 at the WCC 2023. The winner will represent India in The World Barista Championship to be held in South Korea. 

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