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CQI Launches Professional Accreditation for Cuppers

Twenty-nine individuals throughout Central America and the U.S. have successfully passed the rigorous two-day exam to become licensed Q-graders. The Q Grader Program is the first professional accreditation for cuppers and aims to help elevate the quality of coffee throughout the supply chain. Through this program, CQI is implementing a common language for quality and developing a team of professionals that can represent these standards.

Using standards developed by the Technical Standards Committee and the Roasters Guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), and recognized by the global specialty coffee industry, the licensing tests are given by CQI with a Trustee present. The test uses methodology in eight different areas: Basic Coffee Knowledge, SCAA Sensory Skills Test, Cupping Skills Test, Olfactory Skills Test, Triangulation Skills Test, Matching Pairs Skills Test, SCAA Green Coffee Classification Grading for Green and Roasted Coffee, and Sample Roast Identification Skills Test.

Among the group of licensed Q-graders is Aleco Chigounis of Groundworks Coffee Company, who has not only earned the distinction of Licensed Q Grader, but is the first person in the U.S. to bear the title. This is an important link that CQI expects to expand upon so that buyer and seller can communicate more effectively and work together to make quality improvements.

Second Cup’s Chairman Buys Company from Cara

Gabe Tsampalieros, the chairman of Canada’s coffee-shop chain, “Second Cup,” is buying the company from Cara Operations Ltd. for an undisclosed amount.

Under the proposed deal, Tsampalieros - who has also served as Cara’s chief executive - will buy all shares of Second Cup Ltd., but not the units of the Second Cup Royalty Income Fund. He’s also buying all of the international Second Cup trademarks - held by Cara - that were not transferred to the income fund when it went public in late 2004. The income fund has no ownership stake in Second Cup, but its indirect source of revenue derive from the royalties it collects through an agreement with the coffee-shop chain.

Don Robinson, Cara’s president and c.e.o., stated, “This transaction is consistent with the natural evolution of both Cara and Second Cup. Second Cup has a strong management team in place, led by Bruce Elliot, with a proven track record. [It] has operated highly autonomously within Cara. Under Tsampalieros’ ownership and the experience he brings, Second Cup, together with its management team, is well positioned to fulfill its growth aspirations.”

Remarking on the acquisition of Second Cup, Tsampalieros, the company’s chairman, said “I have been actively involved with Second Cup for nearly 10 years; first as a director since 1996, and its chairman in 2002, following Second Cup’s acquisition by Cara. I have always believed in the strength of the Second Cup brand. I am very excited by this opportunity to continue to work with Bruce and his management team to build on the success that Second Cup has achieved since becoming a member of the Cara group of companies.”

Second Cup is Canada’s second largest retailer of specialty coffee, as measured by the number of cafes.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ Expands

Dunkin’ Donuts has secured commitments from both new and existing franchisees to open hundreds of new stores over the next few years in major cities. Dunkin’ has already opened more than 300 new stores during its current fiscal year, with approximately 240 additional locations set to open within the next few months.

Dunkin’ Donuts is in the midst of the most significant expansion program in its history, with plans to ultimately triple its number of U.S. stores to 15,000 by 2025. In addition to rapid growth in established markets throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, Dunkin’ Donuts is expanding aggressively into new cities throughout the South and Midwest.

Dunkin’ Donuts has also unveiled a new store prototype, featuring an improved in-store and drive-thru experience. The new store design is complemented by a new, innovative menu that moves Dunkin’ Donuts beyond breakfast. The new menu is part of Dunkin’ Brands’ efforts to raise the bar on the quality and variety of foods available, and to change expectations about what is possible in a quick service meal, whether in their restaurant or on the go.

In response to rising interest from consumers for healthier, on-the-go options, Dunkin’ Donuts added new Smoothies to its popular beverage and snack menu. Made from yogurt and real fruit, Dunkin’ Donuts Smoothies are rolling out nationally throughout spring and summer in three different flavors: Wildberry, Mango Passion Fruit and Strawberry Banana.

Dunkin’ launched a new, multi-million dollar “America Runs on Dunkin” advertising campaign, centered around the concept of how Dunkin’ Donuts’ freshly-made coffee and baked goods serve as fuel for the hard working, dedicated Americans that keep the country running. The launch of “America Runs on Dunkin” marks the most significant repositioning effort in the company’s 55-year history, and is the first to debut since Dunkin’ Brands was acquired in March by a consortium of global private equity firms consisting of Bain Capital Partners LLC, The Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.

Importer Wakefield Moves

DR Wakefield, specialty coffee importers since 1970, have moved their U.K. offices to:

Thompson House, 42-44 Dolben Street, London SE1 0UQ, England. Tel: (44)(20) 7202-2620.

Simon Wakefield is the managing director. Other personnel include: Matt Horsbrugh, Santiago Barahona, John Brown, Lynn Cranfield, Samantha Short, and Derick Federicks.

The company is a certified importer for: Fairtrade, organic, Rainforest Alliance, Utz Kapeh, Daterra, Swiss Water Decaf, and Progresso. Wakefeld supplies both commercial and specialty quality.

Tea & Coffee - August/September, 2006

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