Everyone is affected by global trade, yet they tend to know very little about what drives the prices, production conditions, and retail chains related to the products they consume on a daily basis. Ocean College initiated a trade project, in which the students are able to see the entire retail process and supply chain within the coffee industry. In the future, other Caribbean goods may also be added, such as cacao and hammocks.
While in Central America, the students will be given the opportunity to harvest coffee beans at a coffee plantation. They will then sell the coffee beans at a fair price. The students then calculate export costs, and organise transport and storage on the ship. On the way to Europe, the coffee will be given the Ocean College brand, and the sale, logistics and duty will be arranged on board.
This project provides the students an opportunity to observe the complete process, from start to finish. The students will see the integration of many different career paths, and will be able to learn which of those jobs might interest them most while working on this project. They also become acquainted with project planning, cost estimates and calculation, duty, logistics, marketing and sales. The money earned through the sale of the coffee will be used to fund the project on the next years voyage, and of course to pay a fair price for the beans provided by the local farmers.
We are working with the Berlin School of Coffee in order to provide the students with a better understanding of the production and processing of coffee.
“Coffee, following oil, is the most valuable trade resource on the planet. But what exactly is the secret behind the product that provides jobs for 120 million people? With Ocean College we will explore the economic and social aspects of specialty coffee, and find the links between the farmers, vendors and consumers, showing that coffee is far more than just an energy booster or an everyday product.
Did you know that coffee can taste like bilberries, jasmine or mango? Coffee is supposed to be black and bitter? That’s part of the past. Coffee is just as complex as wine, with more than 800 aroma components. During the project week, students gain a basic understanding of the botanical characteristics of various Arabica varieties, specifically their resistances, and growth patterns. Topics such as diseases, care, and fertilizer for coffee plants, harvest, and preparation will be highlighted, both practically and in theory. The focus of the training will be on cultivation conditions. Professional tastings of various freshly harvested and prepared micro-lots bring the course content together and will turn students into specialty coffee enthusiasts.”