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Probat Connecting Markets Symposium

As a coffee newbie, I have not been to a lot of coffee related events. So far I have only attended the World of Coffee in Milano this year. Therefore, being able to join Probat’s Connecting Markets symposium was a fantastic opportunity for me to connect with the industry, gain more coffee knowledge, and to meet and learn from potential customers.

| Cropster

Written by Katharina Witt

Honestly, Probat did not disappoint!

Cropster has a long relationship with Probat. The companies even share a joint venture called Fabscale, an independent company that facilitates advanced production processes and quality for industrial-scale roasting operations. I accompanied one of Cropster’s founders, Andreas Idl, who took part in a panel discussion on the topic “Coffee Processing – Business Opportunities Through Smart Data Management”. But let’s start from the beginning.

We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and Probat staff met us at the train station and drove us to the hotel for the welcome dinner. This was a great opportunity to shake some hands, have informal chats, and connect with a few people. Funnily enough, I met a colleague from Fabscale that I have not met at the office yet (although we are sharing one) and she has been in the company for 3 months!

It was a relaxed evening, with good food and a chance to connect with a smaller group of people, which I found very enjoyable, as it was not as overwhelming as WOC Milano. Everyone was relaxed and had time for a chat. What a great start to the event. I was super tired from the trip (coming from Innsbruck to Emmerich is quite a way) I fell into bed already looking forward to the next day. 

The official part of the event started on Wednesday, and again Probat did a great job organizing shuttles, drivers, some snacks, and of course, great coffee (from Röstbar in Münster). Probat’s marketing team did an exceptional job planning and executing the event! Chapeau!

After a brief moment, we jumped into the first of two days full of great speeches, inspiring panel discussions and insights from Probat on their new factory hall. 

Sustainability and Digitalization were the major themes of the event, and therefore the topics were super relevant. What stuck with me the most was that in the long run, connecting all data from farm to cup will be a game changer. Cropster is one leader in this initiative, with tools for farmers and coffee producers, mills, exporters and importers, roasting companies, and coffee retailers – all aimed at making it easier to share information across the supply chain to improve transparency.

There were also sessions aimed at coffee alternatives. Alternatives for coffee plants, how we design the value chain creating less (coffee) waste, and also alternatives of how we run businesses. Lots of coffee goes to waste in the different parts of the value chain. Climate change, as well as diseases, will and already have a negative impact on coffee production. Therefore, we heard about coffee plant research to create more robust plants, software & systems that help different businesses to save time and coffee in their processes, and also alternatives to coffee beans (like making coffee from agricultural byproducts like date seeds). 

I guess this event has shaken us up again. We know things need to change, however having such a great focus on these topics and looking at it from so many angles was very inspiring. It felt like this is (next to coffee itself) the topic that will unify all the businesses around coffee in the next year even more. We need to take serious actions while not forgetting to have fun and enjoy the weirdness of the coffee industry (if I may cite James Hoffman at this point).

I am looking forward to all that is ahead and the many more events like this one. Thanks Probat! 

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